Ked.ai eyes organic growth, adds Bitcoin to the mix
By Gabey Goh January 15, 2014
- Ked.ai passes 100,000 registered users, aims to increase sales and merchants
- Optimistic on future of cryptocurrencies, adds Bitcoin as a payment method
WHEN Digital News Asia (DNA) first featured Ked.ai in January of 2013, its founder Arsyan Ismail (pic) said the team’s biggest challenge would be trying to achieve critical mass.
One year on, the Malaysian online marketplace has garnered a respectable base, having passed the 100,000 mark for registered users and approaching its internal milestone target of 150,000 users.
In an interview with DNA, Arsyan claimed that the estimated monthly sales is about RM194,118 (US$59573), based on what the team can track via its backend system.
“One of our more memorable achievements was signing up some big clients such as Afdlin Shauki and Karyaneka Malaysia,” he said.
The focus for 1337 Tech, the company behind Ked.ai, for the coming year will be on merchant acquisition and increasing sales. Ked.ai ('kedai' is Malay for 'shop') is estimating an increase of 10% of total sales every month within its network.
The e-commerce space in Malaysia getting increasingly crowded, and Arsyan admitted that there are many big players the team cannot afford to compete with. That said however, he believes the market is big enough.
“If we can have a slice of the cake, then that is good enough already. There is no player that can conquer the entire market. There will be some portions for the small players to play [in] and profit. And ... if we're doing it right, we might just grow organically from there to hopefully [garner] at least half of the cake,” he said.
Arysan also said that with the right product and the right user experience, the 1337 team could make it happen.
“We can reach there slowly, but we need to continuously evolve and innovate and not be stagnant in one era. All in all, we're quite satisfied of where we are in the e-commerce space currently in Malaysia,” he said.
Betting on Bitcoin
As part of the team’s efforts to evolve and innovate, Ked.ai now accepts bitcoins as a payment option, enabling its merchants to integrate a Bitcoin wallet into their shops easily. Merchants just need to key in their wallet address and shoppers will be able to pay for their purchases with Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency introduced as open source software in 2009 by a developer or group of developers going by the pseudonym 'Satoshi Nakamoto.'
“There are numbers of growing merchants who are accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, thus following in their footsteps, we have become the first-ever marketplace in Malaysia to have integrated a Bitcoin wallet into our system,” Arsyan claimed.
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) recently issued a statement on its stance regarding the digital currency, stating that bitcoins are not recognised as legal tender in Malaysia.
“The central bank (BNM) does not regulate the operations of [Bitcoin]. The public is therefore advised to be cautious of the risks associated with the usage of such digital currency,” said the statement.
In an email interview with the Wall Street Journal, Colbert Lau, a cofounder at cryptocurrency firm Bitcoin Malaysia, said that it was "worth noting that BNM, in its statement, didn't outlaw the usage of Bitcoin or state that Bitcoin was illegal."
On CoinMap, a website that tracks physical companies and vendors accepting bitcoins, only one merchant in Malaysia was listed – shared workspace Nook Malaysia located in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. In Singapore, 18 retailers currently accept the cryptocurrency
When asked for his thoughts on the controversies and debates surrounding crypto-currencies such as bitcoins, Arsyan said that everyone has their own opinion and are entitled to make their own prediction.
For him, cryptocurrency is a new thing, the kind of ‘new tech’ that will come once in our lifetime.
“And because of this, I wouldn’t want to miss the boat; I predict that this is going to be huge and the value of Bitcoin is going to skyrocket. There are so many ways to predict what the future of Bitcoin is going to be. No one can get it right, because nobody has gone through this before.
“Some economic experts might be able determine what Bitcoin’s future is going to look like, so you might want to listen to them as well. But in my opinion and understanding the inner workings of it, Bitcoin will catch on ... so either join us, or don’t join us … it’s up to you.” he added.
In line with the desire to not ‘miss the boat’ and aid the acceptance and adoption of crytocurrencies, 1337 Tech has plans to develop an exchange house for Malaysia.
That exchange house remains a work in progress but Arsyan shared that the team has done a variant of the Ked.ai website that is being used for users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies called Coins Malaysia.
“We haven’t started to promote it yet as we're still trying figure out the target audience to get the ball rolling, so there's nothing much to see there at this moment. Once we get the ball rolling then we will start to make some noise about it.
“As for the Exchange House, that remains to be discussed once all the pieces fall into place, such as regulation and higher adoption as a payment method,” he added.