THE Philippines is gaining momentum as one of the most promising economies in Asia. Experiencing robust economic growth, with a young 100-million strong population, the country is ripe for innovation in the financial sector.
Majority of the population, however, is unable to gain access to basic financial services and products.
Economies like the Philippines are the ones standing to benefit the most from financial innovations. As the banking sector fails to serve about 73 percent of the population, the state of financial inclusion at present is dismal, according to a press statement by Coinage.ph.
Despite this, Filipinos are among the most technology and telecommunications-savvy group of people in the world.
Our extremely high mobile penetration and ingenious use of technology and social media amid the high cost and many obstacles is a testament to our resourcefulness and resilience.
Technology and mobile platforms are seen as the solutions that will help bridge the gap between the financially savvy and the underserved. One of the most intriguing solutions is the use of digital currency, from payments to money transfer to the massive Filipino market for remittances, which stands at nearly $14 billion.
Bitcoin stands as the forefront of a global phenomenon known as cryptocurrency, a digital form of money that uses high-level encryption and extremely complex algorithms as its guarantee of security.
The recent proposal of the “E-peso Bill” in Congress strengthens the case for bitcoin, as even local politicians are beginning to take notice of the advantages of adopting new ways of serving the financially-excluded populace.
Coinage.ph is the first order book bitcoin exchange in the Philippines. Its tagline “Bitcoin exchange for the new coin age” alludes to the exchange’s name, which stands for both money creation and invention as well as a new era in finance, the company said.
“An order book exchange is crucial to establishing bitcoin in the Philippines,” said founder and CEO Anthony Giovanni Chua, one of the country’s first cryptocurrency programmers. He has been into bitcoin since its very early stages, when it was valued at only $1.
He said price discovery in the local currency is important to the success of the bitcoin ecosystem in the country.
“We eliminate our dependence on foreign exchanges, which peg the bitcoin value to foreign currencies, especially the US dollar. With Coinage, we are able to establish the real Filipino price, based on whatever we want to sell or buy it for. It also uniquely serves our market by being able to sell bitcoin in smaller chunks. We intentionally price it at mBTC to make it more affordable and accessible for the regular Pinoy,” he says.
Chua is joined by two of his business colleagues, Oscar Bicada III and Michelle Varron. The three were all based in Cebu and partners in a boutique ad agency before they chose to venture into another field.
Coinage.ph is part of the Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) group of companies, www.sci.ph. SCI is an umbrella company that has several bitcoin companies under its belt, encompassing a wide range of services that include payment processing, remittance, bills payment, bitcoin faucets and prepaid bitcoin products. (PR)