Bitcoin Vietnam had a short interview with Hiep – the owner of an elegant apartment right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh city – Vietnam. She has just accepted Bitcoin as a payment method for her service.

Q1: Hello Hiep! You are – at least from what we are aware of – the first person in Saigon / Vietnam to accept Bitcoin as payment for the short-team rental of your apartment. Obviously one of the first questions: How did you stumble upon Bitcoin – and why did you decide to accept it as a form of payment for your offerings?

I know about Bitcoin through one of my friends, who has a great passion about it. He spent the whole night talking about this new currency. At that time, I did not understand all these things but through the way he talked about Bitcoin, he motivated me to explore about it on the Internet.

Accepting Bitcoin as a payment method is a completely new experience to me. Money is made for payment and exchanging, however, you can see that there is almost nowhere in Saigon that accept Bitcoin. Thus, Bitcoin has a liquidity risk here. But accepting Bitcoin as a payment method will help me to accummulate wealth in the long run and hopefully its value will get increased in the future.

Q2: In the US / Europe there are regularly ‘criticisms’ coming up, that Bitcoin would be dominated by “white males” and this would be some kind of fault of Bitcoin. While these observations may hold true for the Western hemisphere, we see quite a different environment here in Vietnam, where (for obvious reasons) “white males” are the absolute minority of our customer base / participants at our monthly “Bitcoin Saigon” meetups – but also that a relatively high amount of our customer base (around 20%) / meetup participants (30 – 40%) are indeed females. Bitcoin Vietnam – Vietnams first Bitcoin exchange – is chaired by Ms. Nguyen Tran Bao Phuong; Bitcoin Saigon – the first public Bitcoin Meetup group is co-founded and -organized by Diana Ngo – who is also a writer for Cointelegraph – while you as the first person to accept Bitcoin for your offerings here in town are female as well. How do you explain, that obviously women in Vietnam have in average a higher interest in business / investing than their counterparts in the West?

This is a very interesting question. If there is a “Women and Bitcoin” club, I would surely contribute. In my opinion, in Vietnam, Bitcoin is known by women mostly through social networks. Women and men have different approaches to learn and invest into Bitcoin. About Bitcoin, I don’t really know much about it. Accepting Bitcoin is one way of learning about it, and information security is an issue that I’m very interested. I think it’s a good time to invest into Bitcoin and my friend is also very optimistic about its price in the coming years.

Q3: Even if you are quite fresh in the world of “Bitcoin” – where do you see its benefits for the Vietnamese people / business – and why would Vietnamese people be interested in using Bitcoin as a payment mechanism and / or investment? Which kind of people / business in Vietnam you see opening up to Bitcoin next and what would be a good way forward to increase the adoption of Bitcoin among Vietnamese users / business?

My Bitcoin knowledge is still limited so accepting Bitcoin is how I learn more about it. The world’s trend is to have an unbounded currency that is not solely controlled by any government and freely to send anywhere with ease. Wallet security is the biggest obstacle for the normal users. Using Bitcoin in payment is a new trend in developed countries. We should accept new good things, before it become a vital part in life. Currently, people use Bitcoin more as a tool to make payments than providing services for Bitcoin themselves.

Q4: You also started a few months back to use the AirBnB platform to advertise your offerings and seem so far to be quite excited about this new way of arranging deals in a P2P environment thanks to the Digital Revolution which is happening in our time and age. TechTargets Tom Goodwin made recently the pretty precise observation: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.” We have in Vietnam an interesting startup like, which is basically offering an AirBnB-like service to connect travellers with local tour guides. All business models, which make use of modern technology in order to disrupt the less-efficient and resource-hungry legacy ways of doing business in their specific areas – reinventing transportation, communication, shopping & traveling. And most of these services have faced heavy criticism by the “old players” in their correspondent business areas, since they seriously challenged the established players in their markets. Nevertheless customers as well as service providers seem to see clear advantages in making use of these technologies, so the old rule “In the end innovation always wins” seems to be true here as well.

How has been your experience so far with AirBnB – and why do you think its advantegeous to service providers as well as customers/clients?

AirBnb is a technology product that connects people – it is its simplicity and usability which makes us satisfied. The room-sharing service has become more well-known recently and the number of users is growing significantly. Both number of providers and consumers are increased, which makes the accommodation market much more active. For now I share my only apartment exclusively on AirBnb. I don’t choose any other service because AirBnb brought me a super powerful and convenient tool. In my opinion, AirBnb’s strongest point is that they understand what users need.

Most of my customers come from AirBnb, but currently it doesn’t accept Bitcoin, so it’s difficult to persuade my friends to accept Bitcoin since they need an escrow service like AirBnb to manage customer’s information and to verify them. To me, this is a very important feature that AirBnb is doing quite well.

Q5: What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to expand your offerings? And would you recommend other friends & business partners to take a deeper a look a Bitcoin and possibly accept it as payment and/or investment as well?

I’ve just started on a job that I love so I will be careful in my ability to provide the service. I will move slowly to be able to manage good sales. Product development is not my main focus at this time. To make a difference in my service, I will accept Bitcoin to extend my customer base. Because it’s rare to find Bitcoin accepted business here, it’s my marketing strategy for my service currently.

I’m always willing to share my experience about AirBnb. However, to have a serious and careful view about Bitcoin, I think I would need more time and want to see more places that accept Bitcoin.

End: Thank you for your time and good luck with your future business endeavours!