By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
As momentum for investing in digital assets, fintech startup Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) will launch the first marketplace for cryptocurrencies solely on the Philippine market.
“We will launch in the next couple of months,” said PDAX co-founder and CEO Nichel Gaba in an interview. PDAX is backed by venture capitalists from Singapore, Korea, the US and the Philippines.
Gaba, who earned his economics degree at the University of Ateneo and an MBA from Wharton, said they are now closely working with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Stock Exchange Commission to come up with the rules, policies and licenses of the digital asset exchange.
“We are advocating for government regulations,” he said as opposed to the other notion that the cryptocurrencies should be free from central banks’ regulations and policies because in the first place it is powered by the blockchain technology that is indisputable.
At present, he said, there have been some individuals or groups acting as a digital asset exchange platform when in fact they are technically functioning as dealers and brokers of cryptocurrencies. PDAX is basically an order-book exchange that provides a safe, secured and efficient way to invest in digital assets directly with Philippine peso at globally competitive prices in real time.
“We believe the future of investing is digital,” said Gaba as he believes that this marketplace for digital assets would ensure that “no one should get left behind” because it will create more entrepreneurs among Filipinos, who can now have access to financing.
PDAX’s platform leverages the same order-matching technology used by stock exchanges like the NYSE and PSE to match buyers and sellers of digital assets like Bitcoin. Overall, this exchange mechanism will bring efficiency to the market and cheaper, clearer ways of trading digital assets, including but not limited to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
By tying up with the blockchain technology, the digital asset exchange can eliminate all the fees incurred when someone trades at the current securities exchange, which could average 8 percent of the total transaction cost.
The biggest challenge though is the education issue to ensure that Filipinos understand the blockchain technology and how the cryptocurrencies are being traded to remove market skepticism.
Lastly, to convey this potential to all Filipinos, PDAX engages in dynamic conversations and seminars with diverse industry leaders, financial institutions, banks and societies.
“Educating the market in a way that every Filipino can understand is imperative,” continued Gaba, “we share investment guidelines and knowledge to empower them with the essentials to start.”
He said the idea is not so much on understanding technical aspect of blockchain and cryptocurrency, but an awareness on how they can benefit by embracing this new technology.
Founded on three core missions: transparent regulations, comprehensive security and proper consumer education to make this largely untapped investment potential available to all Filipinos.
To prepare for its launch, PDAX now employs 25 people mostly working on developing its platform for its eventual launch.