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Bitcoin, crypto & blockchain / Digital Revolution in PH

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Bitcoin, crypto & blockchain / The Digital Revolution in PH

ron-hose-coins.ph-philippines-bitcoins-g :

PH remittances continue to grow fast

(come back and see how this thread develops!!)

some key articles that I will summarize below:

/ 1 /

BuyBitcoin.ph: A Philippine Bitcoin exchange arrives - Rappler


Jan 13, 2014 - BuyBitcoin.ph offers an alternative remittance service through which ...

/ 2 /

Philippine Bitcoin Exchange BuyBitcoin.ph Acquired by SCI - NewsBTC


Apr 15, 2015 - Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) made an acquisition of the Philippine bitcoin exchange BuyBitcoin.ph in its effort to broaden its reach in the ...

/ 3 /

3 Major Bitcoin Platforms in Philippines, Efficiency Comparison Test

Aug 25, 2016 - ... platforms in the Philippines - Coins.ph, BuyBitcoin.ph and Rebit.ph. ... Overall,

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BuyBitcoin.ph is one of the oldest and most trusted bitcoin brands in the country.

Meanwhile, its parent, SCI is the pioneering universal bitcoin company in the Philippines. Their team focuses on rapid execution and iteration has led to the development of strong, original, and robust products. Their existing products include:

Rebit.ph for remittances, Coinage bitcoin platform, BitMarket.ph payment processor, Bitbit e-wallet, and Bills Ninja for paying bills through bitcoin.

. . .

Compare "Top 3" Bitcoin exchanges (at Aug.2016):


Users rank Coins.ph as one of the best and well-rounded Bitcoin applications globally, due to its connections with local banks, remittance networks, corporations, and merchants which enable users to do pretty much anything with Bitcoin. Coins.ph allows users to settle utility bills, pay tuition fees, credit card payments, purchase mobile credits, and purchase and sell Bitcoin through remittance branches, ATMs and banks...

One of its most intriguing services is the 24/7 cardless ATM Instant Payout, which allows users to cash out Bitcoin at the nearest bank ATM at any time of the day without transaction fees.

Overall, Coins.ph offers 10 Bitcoin purchase and selling methods.


The oldest Bitcoin platform and exchange in the Philippines, Buybitcoin.ph remains one of the most reputable Bitcoin exchanges in the country. Its simplicity and minimalistic user interface has enabled the company to keep a loyal userbase for over three years. Unlike many Bitcoin exchanges, BuyBitcoin.ph operates without KYC regulations. That means users don’t have to give up their credentials or sensitive information to buy or sell Bitcoin. This feature of the exchange makes Buybitcoin.ph the most safe and reliable Bitcoin exchange to use in the region.

The steps in purchasing or selling Bitcoin on this platform is fairly simple. For buyers, Buybitcoin.ph requires an over-the-counter deposit to be submitted on the day of the order. Once the payment is made, Buybitcoin.ph sends the payment in a few hours. Again, the beauty of this platform is that all that it required from buyers is an email address and, of course, the Bitcoin address for the payment. For sellers, Buybitcoin.ph requires a bank account number and the holder’s name for the payment. Once the Bitcoin payment is received by Buybitcoin.ph the payment is instantly sent to the bank account.


Rebit.ph is one of the most popular Bitcoin platforms in the Philippines and which has received massive exposure through mainstream media outlets over the past few years. Now under the investment company Satoshi Citadel Industries, Rebit.ph is a remittance and billing platform which consumers in the Philippines use to send both local and intenrational payments, and to also settle utility bills.

Rebit.ph started out as a remittance platform. Over time, it acquired Bill Ninja, a Philippine Bitcoin startup which allows users to settle any kind of bill in the Philippines using Bitcoin. The utility bill settlement service became as popular as its remittance platform, which allowed the company to sell itself to Satoshi Citadel Industries.

The platform is very simple in theory. Users send Bitcoin payments to Rebit.ph and the platform sends cash to remittance outlets or banks in its supported countries list. Currently, it supports Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the Emirates, the UK, the US, and Vietnam. It takes around two to four days to send a cash payment to these countries using Bitcoin, with very low costs. I have personally sent cash payment using Bitcoin to my family in Korea.

There is currently no service or platform which replicates Rebit.ph. It is very inefficient and difficult to send global cash payments using Bitcoin due to the requirements of exchanges to send various licenses and documents for authentication.

In general, the Philippines has a very well established Bitcoin infrastructure and users can do pretty much anything with the digital currency. It requires minimal user information and is very cost-effective.


May 12, 2015: On a lookout for tech innovations that can address social issues, healthcare entrepreneur Joe Maristela has invested $100,000 (P4.4 million) in Philippine-based financial technology (fintech) startup Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI). A founder and chief operations officer of healthcare business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Star Business Centers in Makati City in Metro Manila, Maristela and his partner chose SCI of other local Bitcoin companies because of its seasoned team members and company culture. SCI is the first universal Bitcoin company in the Philippines...
. . .
SCI’s John Bailon said their company plans to use the funds to scale up operations and to strengthen their brand. The local fintech startup just celebrated its first year last week.
>  more at: http://www.dealstree...artup-sci-6291/
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The Great UNBANKED opportunity


Investment by Koreans / K Venture Group > Satoshi Citadel Industries

Philippine-based financial technology (fintech) startup Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) has secured a seed round with K Venture Group (KVG), the investment arm of South Korea internet company Kakao Corporation. It was KVG’s first venture in the Philippines which it considers a “strategic partnership” with SCI, seeing the fintech startup’s ecosystem of financial technologies as a key addition to its portfolio of investments. The size of the deal was not disclosed. Launched by Kakao in January 2015 with up to $86.5 million (KRW 100 billion) starting capital, KVG has been active in looking to expand in both local and global investments.

Satoshi Citadel KVG opted to invest in SCI looking at the huge fintech opportunity in the Philippines being the third biggest remittance market in the world where over 69 per cent of the population have no access to bank accounts. SCI developed its own Bitcoin technologies to fill the gap. KVG’s principal partner Scott Kwon lauded SCI’s track in addressing the needs of the unbanked.



So, What Can KakaoTalk Do with Bitcoin Technology?

For starters, KakaoTalk can include a feature that enables people to send and receive money over the chat application. This will be an attractive feature that will allow the brand to compete with Apple’s upcoming version of iMessages. Apple’s iOS 10 is expected to have Circle integrated into iMessages as a third-party app, allowing users to send and receive funds over a Bitcoin-powered platform.

READ MORE: Apple Warms up to Bitcoin with Its Latest iMessages Update

If KakaoTalk indeed includes Bitcoin payment option through Satoshi Citadel Industries, it can also leverage upon the huge volumes of remittance between South Korea and the Philippines. The total remittance between both the countries currently stands at over $231 million per year and KakaoTalk, along with Rebit.ph can capture a significant market share.

Integration of Bitcoin payments into KakaoTalk can also help the e-commerce industry. Marketing professionals are increasingly using chat applications for promoting products and services. By allowing Bitcoin payments, buyers will be able to make purchases directly over the chat application itself.

Further down the line, the chat application can also experiment with blockchain based encrypted chat to offer secure communication options for its users.

Even though it is not clear how KakaoTalk intends to use Bitcoin and blockchain technology expertise, it sure does have a lot of options in front of it. We just have to wait for it to choose one among them.

READ MORE: KakaoTalk Eyes Bitcoin As A Remittance Corridor Solution

> also: http://www.dealstreetasia.com/stories/fintech-will-lead-ph-to-a-new-digital-payments-landscape-john-bailon-satoshi-citadel-10791/

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SCI funding and acquisitions

Satoshi Citadel gets funding from Kakao's KVG - Tech in Asia

Jun 9, 2016 - Philippine Bitcoin startup Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Korean web giant Kakao's ...
May 12, 2015 - Philippine Bitcoin umbrella company Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) has raised US$100,000 in seed funding from Filipino healthcare ...
Apr 13, 2015 - Universal Bitcoin service provider, Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), has acquired over-the-counter bitcoin transaction service, BuyBitcoin.ph for ...
Aug 31, 2016 - August 16, 2016, Manila, Philippines— SCI (Satoshi Citadel Industries), aligned with its vision to provide financial inclusion the country, ...
Aug 26, 2016 - Philippine Bitcoin fintech startup Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) has acquired ... With the acquisition SCI has relaunched the app, which will sit ...
Jun 10, 2016 - Satoshi Citadel (sci.ph) presents one of those critical investments for Kakao, as the Philippine Bitcoin startup has seen its fair share of success.
Satoshi Citadel Industries Acquires Bitcoin Based Investment App ...
Aug 27, 2016 - Satoshi Citadel Industries, the Filipino Bitcoin heavyweight has announced the acquisition of Keza Bitcoin investment application. Read more...
Satoshi Citadel Industries Acquires BuyBitcoin.ph - Blockchain ...

Apr 15, 2015 - Satoshi Citadel Industries Acquires BuyBitcoin.ph ... The name Satoshi Citadel Industries [also referenced to as SCI] may not ring a bell for most ...


Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) acquires KEZA, a New York-based ...
Aug 29, 2016 - Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) has announced that they have acquired New York-based bitcoin investment startup KEZA, and will relaunch a ...
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Putting Mouth where the Money is

How Deloitte's Bitcoin Bistro Was Built
Aaron Stanley | Published on April 9, 2017


While Deloitte has long been an advisor on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, it took a step toward to practicing what it preaches earlier this month.

After installing a bitcoin ATM in its Toronto office last fall, the consulting giant is now accepting bitcoin payments at a restaurant in its office complex – providing a hands-on opportunity for patrons to experience bitcoin.

Iliana Oris Valiente, strategy leader at Rubix by Deloitte, explained that such first-hand experiences are instrumental toward educating people about the greater potential underlying blockchain technology.

> more: http://www.coindesk.com/how-deloitte-bitcoin-bistro-built/

In The Philippines, SGV has recently hosted a Ethereum-related meeting

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  • 3 weeks later...

$MONEY$ for Money movement providers, and "VC" exchanges, as Bitcoin usage grows: $2 million monthly, and rising


Philippines' blockchain remittance firm Coins.ph raises $5 million
SiliconANGLE (blog)-24 Oct 2016

Two-year-old Philippine Bitcoin startup Coins.ph has raised $5 million for its mobile-focused blockchain payment platform.

The Series A round was led by the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund that included Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, Wavemaker Labs, Global Brain, BeeNext and Rebright Partners. Coins’ platform provides users with access to basic financial services such as remittances, bill payments, and mobile airtime.

The company’s main “Teller” product works by using Coins.ph accounts and retailers that currently accept Bitcoin payments via the Coins.ph network to transfer actual fiat currency between two parties, offering a money transfer service that doesn’t require the use of banks.

. . .

Aimed at the unbanked

While the Philippines isn’t the poorest country in the world, it is poor compared with many of its neighbors, with 69 percent of locals believed not to have a bank account.

Smartphone penetration, on the other hand, is rapidly growing, which is where Coins.ph steps in with its services. The company now has 500,000 users with partners in a presence in over 40 countries, catering in particular to the 10 percent of Filippinos who live overseas and send money home, a market that is said to be around $30 billion in remittances a year.


Top 6 Bitcoin and Blockchain Remittance Companies
The Merkle-18 Apr 2017
Top 6 Bitcoin and Blockchain Remittance Companies ... Moreover, the Coins.ph services are available at various Southeast Asian 7-eleven ...

Below are some of the companies worth keeping an eye on over the coming years.


6. Bitspark

This particular company is well worth keeping an eye on, only because they offer cash out services at over 100,000 locations around the world, Bitspark prides itself upon servicing the Asian regions, with a strong focus on Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The Asian region is home to a large number of remittance transfers, thus more competition can only be beneficial to consumers.

5. Bit2Me

The Bit2Me company has made quite a name for itself over the past few years, as they were the first business to let users convert bitcoin to cash at thousands of ATMs. The company provides an easy to use mobile application which would allow any bitcoin user to convert their BTC funds to cash in Spain. Moreover, users do not need to be a customer of any of the supported banks to receive cash in a friction less manner.

4. Rebit.ph

The Philippines are quite an important area for bitcoin and remittance, that much is evident. Rebit is a subsidiary of Satoshi Citadel Industries, a company well-known for their multiple bitcoin-based ventures. Moreover, Rebit provides access to financial services regardless of previous access to bank accounts or other traditional financial tools

3. BitPesa

Most cryptocurrency users will know what BitPesa has to offer in the first place. The company offers bitcoin-oriented mobile payments to various African countries. As of right now, the service is active in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, although future expansion is only a matter of time. That said, according to their website BitPesa covers over 85 countries around the world and has processed over 17,000 bitcoin transactions so far.

2. Coins.Ph

Coins.ph serves as a mobile blockchain-based platform. The primary market is Southeast Asia, where over 300 million users are looking for access to financial services and products. Coins.ph has a very simple business model: send money around the world and pay bills with bitcoin. Moreover, the Coins.ph services are available at various Southeast Asian 7-eleven stores, giving the company plenty of exposure.

1. Abra

One of the companies getting a lot of attention has recently been Abra, a project that had been in development for quite some time. The concept is simple: users can transfer money around the world with ease, with transactions taking place on the blockchain. Wallets can be funded with bitcoin, bank accounts, or cash. Conversion to cash can be done through local Abra Tellers, yet bitcoin or a bank transfer are other withdrawal options as well.

Bitcoin Powers 20 Percent of Remittances From Korea to Philippines
CoinTelegraph-28 Oct 2016

The Philippines is a home to some of the industry’s most innovative startups including Coins.ph and Rebit.ph, that enable cost-efficient remittances from their home country to international recipients. At Bootstrap Manila, Bitcoin startups & investors revealed that 20 percent of remittances from the Philippines to South Korea are processed using Bitcoin.

Coins.ph recently secured a $ 5 mln investment from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s fund, due to their unique approach that instead of competing with banks and existing financial services, it would be more beneficial for its users to collaborate with them to offer borderless and frictionless remittance services.

As a result, users can send payments using Bitcoin to anywhere in the country, through mainstream remittance and financial services such as bank ATMs, Over-the-Counter payments and remittance outlet deposits.

Rebit.ph is another prominent remittance-focused startup in the Philippines that is primarily focused on providing remittance services to its users. Unlike Coins.ph, Rebit enables users to send Bitcoin to virtually anywhere around the world with substantially low fees.

The Philippines Central Bank approves new bitcoin exchange ... for Virtual Currency (VC) exchanges
Brave New Coin-8 Feb 2017

The Philippines has been a global leader in bitcoin remittance since 2013, when payment service Coins.ph and the Satoshi Citadel Industries .

. . .

The Bangko Sentral recognizes that Virtual Currency (VC) systems have “the potential to revolutionize” the delivery of financial services, “particularly for payments and remittance, in view of their ability to provide faster and more economical transfer of funds, both domestic and international, and may further support financial inclusion.” However, the bank does not intend to endorse any VC, “such as bitcoin,” as a currency, “since it is neither issued or guaranteed by a central bank nor backed by any commodity.”

. . .

The new rules and regulations will go into effect on February 21, at which point all VC exchanges must obtain a Certificate of Registration (COR). Applicants incur a one-time registration fee and an ongoing annual service fee, both of which will cost about US$2,000, far less than the money transmitter licenses required throughout most US states.

Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. first mentioned the upcoming regulations on Jan 30th, and the reason why they were needed. “Volume is growing,” he explained. “You cannot ignore it anymore because it’s a growing channel. In the overall scheme of things, it’s not yet that big but it has a potential to grow.”


Bitcoin Remittance Popularity Forces Philippines to Draft New regulations ...
newsBTC-21 Dec 2016
The growing popularity of Bitcoin in the remittance sector has prompted ... currently leads the rebittance industry with its Rebit.ph platform.

“We are concerned with potential money laundering and consumer protection. We are studying putting virtual currency exchange operators under a more formal regulatory framework.”

The head of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ supervision and examination unit mentions that the new regulations will make cryptocurrencies legal in the country. At the same time, it will hold cryptocurrency platform operators accountable for anti-money laundering initiatives among others.

According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, it is the right time to introduce cryptocurrency regulations as the total Bitcoin remittance currently stands at around $2 million per month. Satoshi Citadel Industries, the country’s biggest cryptocurrency company currently leads the rebittance industry with its Rebit.ph platform. By using Bitcoin for remittance, people are saving a small fortune on the transaction and foreign exchange fees otherwise applicable for fiat transmission.

The introduction of Bitcoin regulation provided it is framed keeping the interests of people and cryptocurrency platforms in mind will have a positive influence on the ecosystem. It will impart legitimacy to cryptocurrency based operations while offering clarity about the dos and don’ts for the companies. It will also increase the adoption rate among people as they have nothing to fear about any “non-existent” implications of cryptocurrency usage.

It is just a matter of time before countries start coming up with their own versions of Bitcoin regulations. The early movers, like the Philippines, should ensure that they get it right as they will be setting the precedent for other countries.

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Blockchain for the unbanked: Philippines Coins.ph raises US$5M Series A
Kevin McSpadden
23 October 2016
A fast growing mobile market, and a low amount of people with bank accounts, allows Coins.ph to use blockchain for financial services

Coins.ph, a Philippines-based startup that provides financial services through the blockchain, announced on Friday it has raised a US$5 million Series A led by Quona Capital’s Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund.

Other participating investors were Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, Wavemaker Labs, Global Brain, BeeNext, and Rebright Partners.

Additionally, Kickstart Ventures and the Ideaspace Foundation invested in the round.

“In the Philippines, more people have a Facebook account than a bank account. We’d like to make access to financial services as easy and approachable as getting a Facebook account,” said Coins.ph Co-founder and CEO Ron Hose in an official statement.

The plan for the money is for Coin.ph to expand its service across both the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Coins.ph is a mobile-first platform that allows people to perform banking tasks such as sending remittances, paying for bills and even buying data/airtime packages for phones.

The startup has partnered with banks, last-mile logistics companies and financial institutes to create a network of over 22,000 cash distribution centres across the Philippines.

The platform has a presence in 40 countries because foreign workers sending money back home is a huge part of the company.

According to International Data Corporation, the Philippines was the fastest growing mobile market in early 2016 — which has allowed Coins.ph to bring banking services to a population that is more likely to not have a bank account than to have one.

Only 31 per cent of Filipinos have bank accounts and, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, only three per cent have credit cards.

Blockchain allows users to send remittances at a lower rate than Western Union, and helps people take care of everyday services without a bank account. So far, the company claims to have over 500,000 users.

“In the coming months, we will continue to build new partnerships with banks, financial institutions, and retailers to connect customers across Southeast Asia with best-in-class financial services,” said Coins.ph Co-founder and CTO Runar Petursson.

. . .

Coins.ph was part of ‘The Open Vault’ fintech accelerator programme that took place over the summer.

The company also has operations in Thailand.


Also Read: Payment solutions key to e-commerce success in the Philippines


> https://sg.news.yahoo.com/blockchain-unbanked-philippines-coins-ph-raises-us-5m-044047051.html


Coins.PH / Estimated Market Cap - 3 years ago = $10 million

Year Founded : 2014
Guesstimate Valuation ($USD) : $10,000,000

( Note: If 100,000 users then, that's $100 per user )
Startup Category : Rising Success - Coins.ph is a startup succes in the bitcoin exchange sector
Reference articles Links : https://www.techinasia.com/tag/coins-ph
Submitted By : Bery Li (WSR)
Country : Philippines
Reviewer : WSR-Bowei, 3/17/2014
>source : http://www.worldstartupwiki.org/page/coins.ph

(Another valuation measure - this from July 2015):

"Coins.ph surpassed 1,000 repeat customers in the country in July. While that number sounds small, especially for a market the size of the Philippines, it has to be looked at through the lenses of slow but rising bitcoin adoption – along with steadily increasing smartphone usage."

> source: https://www.techinasia.com/cool-fintech-startups-asia-2015

(website visits - and another valuation);

VISITS are growing fast, see link

total disclosed funding : $5.00m
last round valuation estimate : $33.33m - 5m = $28.33 pre-money
Reported Users ------ : 500,000 - per user: $56.66
Monthly website visits : 1,100,404 - per visit: $25.75 /12 = $2.14 x (annual visits)
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CASH OUT potential through eGiveCash - a key to the success of Coins.PH

(this capability was announced back in late 2014):

Coins.ph users may now convert Bitcoin into cash using ATMs in the Philippines

Withdrawal through 450 ATMs nationwide – without the use of an ATM card – is now an option for Coins.ph users. Here’s how it works.

Dec 22, 2014

Philippine startup Coins.ph has launched a new service that will further encourage overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to send money to their loved ones using Bitcoin.

Withdrawal through 450 ATMs of partner bank Security Bank – without the use of an ATM card – is now an option for Coins.ph users.

The company has taken steps early on to bring value to remitters. It launched a wallet that allows OFWs to send money at lower costs than banks or money transfer firms like Western Union.

But hurdles remain for the recipients back home – remittances can be cashed out through bank deposits, which requires recipients to have accounts; or delivered door-to-door and picked up at partner locations, which take time. The ATM service “is possibly the most convenient way to cash out Bitcoin anywhere in the world,” says Ron Hose, Coins.ph founder and CEO.

Users may select the “egivecash” option in sending any amount between PHP500 (US$11.20) and PHP10,000 (US$224) to relatives and friends. Recipients can just go to a nearby partner ATM to cash out the remittance. Instead of inserting a physical card, they simply input the egivecash number received via SMS, the passcode received via email, and the payout amount. The ATM will then dispense the cash and automatically inform the sender that the transaction has been completed.

Bitcoin has now become more competitive with traditional remittance services. OFWs send home about US$24 billion in remittances each year, and pay eight percent of this amount in fees. Remitting using Bitcoin takes away these fees (if done through your digital wallet) or significantly lowers them (if through Bitcoin remittance firms). Coins.ph’s new service, in the meantime, essentially turns ATMs into Bitcoin cash terminals. Bitcoin adoption in the Philippines is still in its nascent stages – there are only a few startups that allow for exchange of Bitcoin into fiat money. Convenience is always a concern.

> more: https://www.techinasia.com/coins-ph-bitcoin-atm-withdrawal

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Coins.PH is in Thailand too

The legal blessing of the Central Bank is a key success factor, apparently

Thailand has reportedly gotten its 2nd Bitcoin exchange, coins.co.th, launched by Philippines-based coins.ph.

It will allow for Bitcoin buying/selling versus the local baht currency. However, it will function more as a currency exchange service than a liquidity-based online trading platform. Bitcoin buyers sign up, place a buy order and then send the indicated amount of cash through a local bank. Sellers sign up, place a sell order and then send the appropriate sum of bitcoins to the indicated address.

Still, the presence of more than one exchange venue in the country is healthy for competition and Bitcoin adoption. The use of cryptocurrency as a means for financial mobility is much more felt in countries like Thailand and Philippines, where large segments of the population are unbanked. Coins.ph CEO Ron Hose explained:

“We recognize the lack of functional financial services in developing countries, and the growing demand for Bitcoin as a lower barrier alternative to traditional banking. We want to position ourselves as the Coinbase of Southeast Asia, with a platform that is geared specifically towards markets with low bank penetration.”

The country’s first exchange, Bitcoin.co.th, went offline last year after indications from its central bank that Bitcoin is illegal. It reopened earlier this year after the central bank confirmed that while risky, dealing in it is in fact legal.

> http://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/exchange/coins-ph-launches-thailands-2nd-bitcoin-exchange-coins-co-th/

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  • 7 months later...

Bitcoin Volume Estimate : Over $8 million per month

This is from today's Manila Times (pg.B1):

"Virtue currency transactions in the Philippines now average over $8 million per month," the BSP says.

"For the first half of the year, the average was $8.8 million monthly," said Melchor Plabasan, head of the BSP's Core Information Technology specialists group.

The data was based on transaction volume at two bitcoin exchanges (and so may not capture all transaction volume)

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Blockchain Event in Manila - 25 Jan. 2018 - from 9am

> Program : https://philippines.bc.events/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5v37pImJ2AIVxDaWCh2-mQ36EAEYASAAEgJsWvD_BwE

> Venue: Ortigas Center : https://philippines.bc.events/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5v37pImJ2AIVxDaWCh2-mQ36EAEYASAAEgJsWvD_BwE

It is the first time that Smile-Expo holds the conference dedicated to blockchain technologies in Philippines!

Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines will bring together specialists in the cryptocurrency market and blockchain technologies from the Philippines and other countries. Held in the state capital Manila, the conference will allow participants to share their experience in integrating the blockchain into the government control sector, banking system, trading, media, healthcare and other areas. Participants will discuss all aspects of developing innovative IT products: from the idea to launch.

The cryptocurrency regulation in the Philippines has become the first initiative of such a kind in Asian countries. rapid growth of cryptocurrency transactions within the country, reaching $6mn, has become a significant factor leading to the statutory regulation.

The conference will involve IT developers, entrepreneurs, investors as well as specialized software and hardware manufacturers. Keynote speakers will include managers of world-renowned companies and representatives of authorities.

Conference official language: English.

Source: https://philippines.bc.events/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5v37pImJ2AIVxDaWCh2-mQ36EAEYASAAEgJsWvD_BwE © Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines

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  • 1 month later...

UNIONBANK and it's new ARK branch, a novel concept for our digital age?
UnionBank sets out to hack PH banking with digital transformation

Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines, like most of the big banks in the country, is embracing the possibilities of going digital.

What may be different is the extent to which UnionBank has bet its future on transforming themselves.

“We need to stitch a complete digital flow from your device to the bank to the clearing house back to different banks back to the phone all in that one click. For that to happen we have to retool everything on the back side," Bautista said.

The convenience of enhanced mobile banking it would eventually bring however would eventually create a situation wherein people may decide never to go to the bank.

This is why UnionBank is retooling its branch services to focus more on higher margin transactions such as financial advising for loans or investment rather than on smaller transactions like deposits or withdrawals.

“In the past we have been trying to push customers out of the branch because its a high cost transaction, due to the amount of tellers needed. So we have been pushing them to our electronic channels. In the future our problem is going to be the minute they stop going to the branch how are we going to engage them. That’s the challenge."

This would involve training more people to give financial advice and less processors or tellers although Bautista noted that existing personnel would be retrained and not let go.

Getting customers ready

Bautista said “the entire transformation would take 18 months to lay the foundation to be able to provide a digital experience but he added that even with this customers may not be ready”.


That is why the bank has created the country’s fully digital bank branch called Ark.

MANILA, Philippines – Inside the country’s first fully digital bank branch, there are no queues, no slips of papers with numbers on them, and most important of all, no bank tellers.

Instead, at Unionbank’s The Ark, there are padded, bright-colored benches, VR goggles, and even free flowing coffee. All your bank transactions – from transferring funds to applying for a loan – are accomplished through standalone terminals, tablets, or touchscreen TVs.

The people you’ll talk to at this branch are not just present to clear your check or update your passbook. They’re ambassadors, ready to offer you helpful advice on everything money-related.

. . .

From conceptualization, The Ark took less than a year to build, thanks to a team of internal finance experts and powerhouse designers from around the world. The main goal was to address existing pain points in banking – most clients don’t feel like their needs are being fully met, and they see carrying out transactions as a chore.

It was fitting to launch the idea in the middle of Makati’s business district, where many people squeeze in banking during lunch breaks or before heading home. Other fully digital branches will roll out across the Philippines starting next year.

Take the process of taking out a loan for example. It’s an important vehicle for small-scale entrepreneurs, or even individuals who just want to achieve a major life milestone. But traditionally, it’s difficult to get approved for a loan through a bank, because of multiple identification requirements and a rigorous risk assessment process.

For many, the alternative is to borrow through an informal lender in their community – and be subject to ridiculously high interest rates.

“So imagine being able to offer somebody a short term loan, even if he has no actual bank records, but purely based on his telco behavior. Technology makes this possible,” said Arvie De Veyra, Head of Unionbank’s Fintech Business Group. He leads strategic partnerships with community-based payment and money transfer centers to cater to the larger segment of unbanked Filipinos.

Back at The Ark, there’s one corner where clients can “preview” a new car or condominium unit through virtual reality. The rationale, according to Aboitiz, is that most people don’t go into a bank to inquire about a loan. Instead, they want to figure out how to achieve their life goals. The VR goggles can make the vision feel more tangible.

> https://www.rappler.com/brandrap/finance-and-industries/189947-unionbank-ark-future-banking

"One of the reasons why some of us hate to go to bank is the long queues.... It’s really inconvenient to wait."


Unionbank recently lunched The Ark, the first fully digital bank branch in the Philippines. The Ark by UnionBank will deliver on its promise of a new digital platform experience in banking.

The ARK, as concept branch/”lab,” also serves as platform for the clients to co create an ideal banking experience by closely looking into what the clients’ need and wants it comes of banking.

“The ARK provides a service unlike any other. There are no lines, no numbers, hardly any forms to fill up, just highly-trained bank ambassadors ready and happy to give personalized service to each and every client. Every client here receives the proverbial VIP service,” Bautista adds.


At The ARK, a client is treated like a guest, welcomed by the bank ambassador who hands him a tablet to select his transaction. The bank ambassador may usher the guest to the coffee area where he could enjoy his espresso while waiting for the bank ambassador to facilitate his transaction. The guest will also able to maximize his time while at The ARK and do some as the branch is equipped with high-speed internet. Customized and comfortable seats are provided for The ARK guests.

GF Insular Life Bldg,  Makati Ave cor Paseo de Roxas, Makati,

With free WiFi, coffee | this bank is a digital nomad's paradise


In theory, online transactions will be more profitable - but there is a learning curve, & security issues

Ark, a Ground-breaking concept : http://pinoymanila.com/2018/01/11/the-ark-by-unionbank-igniting-the-digital-transformation-revolution/
THE ARC by Unionbank : https://www.facebook.com/TheARKbyUnionBank/

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WHY ARE so man still UNBANKED?

Technology to the under served

In addition to the next potential game-changing programmer, UnionBank is also reaching out to established financial technology companies (fintechs) to see if they can incorporate their technology into its digital transformation.

These would in, some cases, involve partnering with them if a synergy is found as these startups can bring some much needed perspective.

“As a bank we recognize that sometimes our biggest enemy is ourselves. [The startups} have access to technology in the same way we do but since we’ve been schooled as bankers we’ve been taught to do things in a certain way... We’re trying to do something about it,” Bautista said.

Financial technology companies focus on serving those who don't regularly use banks in a specific fashion. Specifically, they are working to allow people without credit cards to make payments, and to provide access to small loans which can grow businesses.

Both aspects are intertwined as well as the payments portion, since it targets an often ignored sector, provides the bank with information that is crucial in assessing whether or not to give them a loan.

“The reason people at the bottom of the pyramid are ignored by banks is because banks traditionally lend on the basis of financial statements and the unbanked have none…

Payments give you information that you can harnesss to drive credit,” Bautista explained.

Telcos vs banks

The country’s banks have competition in this, however. The competition isn't just from nimble fintech startups, but rather from the country’s two giant telecommunications companies, Globe and Smart.

The telcos, after all, have more customers than the banks and Globe has already started to scale up its payments system through partnering with China's Ant Financial. Smart, meanwhile, has its own Paymaya system.

Bautista however added that the pie is big enough and that “from their pronouncements it does not seem like the telcos want to lend directly and are probably more focused on the payments space so there is still room for a bank on the credit side”.

The UnionBank head also pointed out that focusing on specific sectors or regions rather than trying to dominate the whole market may also help banks in the long run.

“The bottom-line always is that the more specific your offering is, and the more relevant, the stickier it will be,” he said.

Threat of a foreign digital bank

The real threat to banks that Bautista sees on the horizon is not telcos muscling into their space but foreign banks coming in fully digital.

This is because the foreign bank liberalization act now allows foreign banks entry into the coutnry.

What truly scares banks, he noted, is not a giant foreign bank coming in with brick-and-mortar plans as it would take years establish a retail branch footprint.

The real threat is a foreign bank coming in fully digital wherein they have no legacy costs and can come in quite cheaply

> https://www.rappler.com/business/191310-union-bank-digital-transformation

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  • 5 months later...

Globe & Jack Ma (Ant Fin'l) to use blockchain in remittances

"The service is the world's first blockchain based cross border digital remittance business"

"Provides a secure, fast, transparent, convenient & low-cost way to transfer funds from HK to PH"

Instead of going to a remittance booth, the remittance can be done using a mobile phone

Ant Financial taps blockchain technology to offer cheaper international money transfers

Filipino workers in Hong Kong to benefit from cheaper remittance service


Ant Financial Services has taken a step towards dramatically lowering the cost of sending money overseas, in a move that will help the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos working in Hong Kong.

These workers collectively transfer about HK$4.4 billion (US$561 million) annually to family and friends back home and, by using revolutionary blockchain technology, Ant Financial – an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding – aims to eventually cut the cost of these remittances to near zero.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma Yun said on Monday he wanted to find a way to help people.

“This comes from a promise I made a long time ago when Alipay was just launched,” said Ma, whose company Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

“I have Filipino friends who asked me when they could use Alipay to send money home because it was too expensive through banks, which charge too much.”

> Ant Fin'l : http://www.scmp.com/tech/china-tech/article/2152349/after-failed-moneygram-bid-ant-financial-goes-one-better-blockchain


Jack Ma's Chinese Fintech Firm Just Raised So Much Money It's Now ...

Fortune-8 Jun 2018
The 14-year-old Ant administers the Alipay platform and used to be part of Jack Ma's Alibaba—now it's likely to have its own IPO. It raised the ...

> Ant Fin'l fund-raising: http://fortune.com/2018/06/08/ant-financial-alipay-14-billion-funding/

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  • 2 months later...

ICO RULES are Coming from the SEC - maybe Draft Rules this month

SAFT or FACT ... as a Rules approach

If flexible enough, the new Rules may encourage a rush of ICO's in PH

Here's one well-known lawyer's thought on some of the issues

(Bizarrely, as I was reading this for the first time, author walked into the coffee shop)

FACTS would not work for token launches

- Rafael Padilla

Recently an article was posted on Coindesk about a proposed compliance framework for Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs. The model has been called by its proponent as Fair and Complaint Token Sale or FACTS. The full article can be found here:


I raise some points about the article and on why I think the FACTS approach wouldn't help in structuring a legally compliant token launch:

Point 1: The article presents a very good discussion of the compliance problems facing most Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). Very good. But this is not the first time these specific problems have been floated.

Point 2: Even the proponents of Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) do not claim that the SAFT model is a bulletproof compliance framework for token launches. But so far SAFT demonstrates the best effort in structuring a legally defensible token launch. Further adding to the authority of SAFT approach was the legal input by Marco Santori. Lawyers who have skin in the game know him and his contributions on the space.

Point 3: The premise for Part 2 of the FACTS (Fair and Compliant Token Sale) approach is flaud. Companies can only distribute dividend when the company already has profits. So how can a company issue dividends (in the form of cryptotokens) at the very early stage of project? The short answer is that it's not possible.

Point 4: Let's assume for a second that it's legally possible for a startup or new project to declare dividends although it has not earned profits yet. But it's not that simple to declare property dividends. Both under SEC and tax regulations, there are special rules that need to be considered to be able to distribute property dividends. In the Philippine context, good luck convincing the SEC or the BIR that they should not investigate a company issuing "property dividends" in the form of digital tokens - electronically minted by the same company distributing these "divs".

Point 5: Let's not forget that in many countries, including in the U.S. and Philippines, distributing dividends is generally a taxable event that triggers tax bill on the part of the shareholder (i.e. the token holder). By issuing a utility token apart from the security token referenced in Part 1, this FACTS approach creates an agonizing layer of complexity. Part 1 token will be tested for securities compliance while Part 2 token will need to be legally checked for any potential tax consequence.

Instead of avoiding challenges from regulators, I suspect that the FACTS approach could invite scrutiny both from the securities authority and the tax office which could perhaps present the worst-case scenario for any token issuer.

> https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/facts-would-work-token-launches-rafael-padilla/

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