MAKATI, PHILIPPINES – Last night, Makati Digital Currency, a blockchain-focused meetup, held “The Business of Blockchain” event inside a 700sqm co-working space called BlockchainSPACE, dedicated for blockchain and cryptocurrency startups in the Philippines. The event highlighted several topics ranging from business cases and opportunities to cryptocurrency as an asset class.
Rafael Padilla, one of the organizers of Makati Digital Currency, ran the show as he interacted with a rather interesting panelist lineup from financial technology startup company, consumer discretionary sector, commercial bank, investment management, cryptocurrency investment management group and a non-bank financial institution giant.
Erica Valerio – Chief Business Development Officer, SCI Ventures Inc.
Colin Christie – Executive Director, Global Chamber Manila
Miguel Ongpin – Head of Business Intelligence, Mynt
Jorge Matthew Go – CEO, HGR Digital Asset Group
Jin Gonzalez – Business Development Director – Fintech Business Group, Unionbank
Timing it right
Erica Valerio observed that in the past 2-3 years, she is now seeing an increase in interest in blockchain and an interest outside its investment potentials, whereas in the past it’s all about how Filipinos will earn money from it.
She advised to harness the technology and introduce those ideas when the time is right. Erica expressed she would like to see blockchain technology revolutionize the industries of logistics, education, and government services.
Solving real-world problems
Colin Christie provided his insights on how the Philippines is different from the west, having fundamental problems of large unbanked, underserved population. He advised,
“Don’t start with the technology, start with examining real-world problems.”
He encouraged young entrepreneurs especially those in crypto space to go and look at the real-world problems that revolve around us and not just to sit around, brainstorm, invent problems and come up with the solutions.
Storage and management of wealth
Jin of Unionbank shared his insight and experience in dealing with the customers of one of the rural banks while discussing the potentials of blockchain and remittance as they initially thought that being banked is the way to be financially inclusive. He realized that the majority of those customers simply go to the bank to talk to their friends and due to air conditioner.
He estimated that 75% of these customers are not interested in being financially inclusive, and the reason for going to loan sharks is due to the desire to access to cash at all times, immediately. He said that it might take a tremendous amount of time to get that 75% on board as culturally, Filipinos are not into storing but into spending as evident to the number of malls present in the country. He further stated,
“Storing wealth is one thing but migrating the wealth is another. Right now, we are in step 000.1 of migration of wealth.”
Jin shared his interesting analogy on getting traction in the space by comparing blockchain to a huge river with no boat on it, and all one has to do is put the boat on that river and partner with the boats that have already been built and existing.
Making intermediaries obsolete
Raphael concluded the heated discussion by expressing his views on middleman as he stated that blockchain won’t replace intermediaries but will create a new intermediary, and the trade-offs will be better because the traditional companies will be competing with a peer-to-peer network. He finished it off by paraphrasing Vitalik Buterin that the objective is not to completely remove intermediaries but to shackle them and ensure they behave ethically and offer the market better trade-offs.
UnionSPACE and SCI Ventures launched Blockchain Space Manila last May 22 in an effort to educate, mentor, and provide workshops, training sessions, and a supportive community to anyone interested to learn about blockchain. It also aims to supports startups with blockchain-specific acceleration and incubation programs through to investment and strategic partnerships.
The Business of Blockchain event is sponsored by Blockchain Space, Citadax, C Estates, and Tagcash.