Sunday , June 24, 2018

High interest in digital economy

THE Philippines is in a unique position to take advantage of rapid evolution in the digital economy.

Aaron Stanley, strategic communications director at Sweetbridge Inc., said the country’s entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with its expanding young and tech-savvy population, will play an important role in transforming the country into a smarter and cashless nation.

“We can see high organic interest in the Philippines to learn about this new technology, about blockchain and this digital economy that we are in,” said Stanley.

Officials of Sweetbridge Inc. led by its chief executive officer and founding chairman Scott Nelson visited Cebu recently to conduct a talk on blockchain implementation in partnership with Cebu Innovation Network (CIN).

Sweetbridge is a United States-based global team of contributors, building a blockchain alliance to launch projects in industry ecosystems, starting with protocols for commerce, supply chains, and interest-free loans.

Blockchain is a digital ledger that provides a secure way of making and recording transactions, agreements and contracts. It enforces transparency and bypasses censorship.

Paulino Llido, chief evangelist and co-founder of CIN, said they aim to bridge the latest technology to communities to improve the quality of life. He sees these disruptions happening now as ways to improve the way people live, do business, and engage.

Stanley said blockchain technology has the potential to help the unbanked and underbanked nations by allowing its people to create their own financial alternatives in an efficient and transparent manner.

One of the roadblocks for an aspiring entrepreneur, especially those who don’t have enough capital, is the absence of collateral or credit standing as proof they are fit to borrow money. Blockchain technology can help address this concern, explained Stanley.

With blockchain, aspiring entrepreneurs will be given a digital identity to get into the system, leverage their property as collateral, access capital without going through the incremental fees, which are usually hidden, and no minimum deposit restrictions.

Moreover, Stanley said the technology aids in making money transfer easier and cheaper. Because it is a decentralized system, it means that one isn’t charged to transfer money, unlike in the traditional financial institutions.

“Everyone is able to accept and digital currencies without hidden fees or charges,” he said.

While more Filipinos are embracing this financial digital shift, Stanley advised to conduct a background check of the blockchain firms they would be dealing with.

“It would be wise for everyone to do research. Look into the credentials of the team to figure out if they were hastily created. Do research about their business model and check whether they are market professionals and if they also operate in accordance with laws,” said Stanley.

An FT (Financial Times) Confidential Research titled “Southeast Asia ready to embrace blockchain” released last Dec. 6 revealed that only 2.5 percent of consumers in five of the largest Southeast Asian countries (except Singapore) used cryptocurrencies in the three months to the end of September last year.

The adoption rate was highest in Indonesia at 3.3 percent followed by the Philippines at 2.9 percent. (KOC)