Posted August 24th, 2015
Although majority of the Philippine population remain unbanked, the rapid growth in the population of the smartphone users, has opened up alternate opportunities for their financial inclusion. In fact, it is the country’s financial technology (fintech) startups, that will lead over 70 million unbanked Filipinos (70 per cent of the country’s population) to a new digital payments landscape, says Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) co-founder and CEO John Bailon.
Many Filipinos are gaining access to the latest financial services approved by the Philippine central bank with the use of smartphones whose penetration is predicted to hit 40 per cent by end of 2015, according to network equipment firm Ericsson. Recently, the Asia Digital Marketing Association announced that Internet users in the Philippines are now over 33 million.
SCI is tapping the personal remittances (from overseas Filipinos or OFs) space, which stood at $13.4 billion in the first half of 2015. Of this, only $2.2 billion were coursed through banks. OFs through their remittances continue to be major contributors to the country’s GDP growth.
The fintech firm has created a mobile money app that allows its users to store their money in their smart phones in Philippine Peso currency. They transmit these funds via the digital currency Bitcoin which makes their money compatible with any Bitcoin accepting merchant all over the world.
Last April, SCI acquired BuyBitcoin.ph, the first Bitcoin exchange in the Philippines. BuyBitcoin.ph is a peso to bitcoin “over-the-counter” exchange which allows Filipinos direct access to buying and selling the digital currency.
In an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Bailon discussed debunked “myths and legends” that had surrounded the Bitcoin currency, while sharing his experience in running a startup company.
How do you see the fintech business in the