First PH blockchain group formed

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The first blockchain group in the Philippines, composed of banks and other financial technology (fintech) institutions, was formed in order to guide other companies as they adopt the blockchain technology.

Blockchain is a software platform for digital assets like bitcoin.

Blockchain Association of the Philippines (BAP) chairman Justo A. Ortiz said the creation of the association aims to provide entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and fintech professionals the information and guidance needed to implement this new technology effectively in their respective businesses.

BAP members are government accredited institutions like Consensys, Unionbank of the Philippines, Satoshi Citadel Industries,

Ramon Vicente de Vera, head of the Fintech Business Group at Unionbank, said blockchain has already changed the financial services market largely.

“The legacy systems of banking have kept a lot of companies siloed because it was designed precisely for financial exclusion which is the great injustice,” De Vera said.

For his part, Mario Jordan Fetalino III, founder and CEO of Acudeen Technologies Pte Ltd, said blockchain has paved the way for a much accessible SME financing in the Philippines.

Blockchain is a new form of technology and being a relatively new concept, blockchain remains an arcane concept to many local businessmen and company executives, particularly those that are not too tech-savvy.

Ortiz, who is also the chairman of Unionbank of the Philippines, one of the first proponents of the blockchain technology here in the country, recently announced the launch of Unionbank’s Project i2i, which aims to bring the unbanked in the Philippines to the financial system.

Ortiz described Project i2i as a real-time, cost-effective, and secure retail payment system on the blockchain.

In its simplest sense, Project i2i is a blockchain-based transaction and payment system that aims to connect rural banks into the country’s main financial network. It is considered the first blockchain platform for financial inclusion.