How to bring cryptocurrency, blockchain into mainstream PH

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |May 10,2018 - 10:57 PM

Cryptocurrency is expected to gain ground in the Philippines, including Cebu, in the coming years.

Patrick Palacios, founder and CEO of Appsolutely and LoyalCoin, said that initial coin offerings (ICOs) were starting to become mainstream although majority might still not be as familiar with the concept.

“I think in Cebu, we have started planting the seeds already. We had a good turnout also in Davao. The people who joined our meetup in Cebu last January, most of them are here. In the next few months, and even in the next couple of years, it’s gonna catch up,” Palacios said in a press conference during the opening of the two-day Beach Blockchain Conference in Movenpick Hotel Mactan on Thursday.

Appsolutely, established in 2013, is the organizer of the conference that brought together hundreds of cryptocurrency and blockchain experts and enthusiasts from all over the world. It is an omnichannel loyalty solutions provider that is partnered with around 30 different merchants all over the country.

LoyalCoin

To further their thrust, Appsolutely developed LoyalCoin in 2017. It is a digital utility coin which can be gained by consumers from loyalty rewards from their partner merchants.

LoyalCoin is also the first Filipino ICO.

The loyalcoin saved by the consumers through a mobile application, can also be used by them to redeem rewards from other member merchants. Among their key merchants now are Petron, Bench, Havaianas, Bonchon, The Bistro Group and Cotton On.

New partner

On Thursday, Palacios also announced its newest partner: Cebu Pacific, through its GetGo Rewards program. With the partnership, this means, loyalcoins gathered by consumers from all partner merchants can also be converted to GetGo points which can enable them to book flights.

“This is a perfect news case for blockchain. Not a lot of people know about blockchain. What better way to make it mainstream than by being able to exchange loyalcoins to GetGo miles?” he said.

Paolo Bediones, the COO of Appsolutely and LoyalCoin, said part of their advocacy was also to do educational campaigns among the public on the world of cryptocurrency and the technology behind it, which is the blockchain.

Virtual currency

According to Investopedia, a cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security.

Blockchain is a decentralized, public digital ledger where transactions made in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies are recorded chronologically and publicly.

“Part of our advocacy is cryptocurrency education so we make videos we post on our social media pages. Sometimes what we hear about this is bad news like people getting scammed. But it is not because of bitcoin or the technology, it’s the people using it illegally,” Bediones said.

Katryn Anne Supapo, Cebu Pacific loyalty division partner manager, said their partnership with LoyalCoin would make it convenient and efficient for members to collect GetGo points and get free flights with the airline.

Palacios said that they would continue to expand and partner with more merchants to spread awareness of cryptocurrencies like LoyalCoin.

Unbanked population

They also plan to tap the unbanked population in the country, which is roughly around 80 percent of the population so they would have cashless payment options.

The group currently has more or less 55,000 active “loyalists” or users of the LoyalCoin.

On the other hand, Palacios cited that there are about 2.5 million Filipinos all over the country that are holding cryptocurrencies, mostly bitcoin.

With these minimal number, he said this is why they want to continue doing more campaigns and events to promote cryptocurrencies and the blockchain like the ongoing two-day conference.

The conference was originally set to take place in Boracay Island with a bigger venue. But with the government’s closure of the popular island, organizers chose to transfer the event to Cebu with over 200 participants.

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