The story of blockchain in the country

Published November 22, 2021, 9:45 AM

by Robert D. Reyes

BookshelfPH Opening the Archipelago

The use of blockchain has paved the way for unparalleled opportunities to hasten the innovation process and digital transformation in the Philippines. This is what co-authors Henry Aguda, Catherine Casas, and Atty. Nathan Marasigan — all executives of Unionbank of the Philippines — want Filipinos to understand as they launched their new book titled Opening the Archipelago: The Story of Blockchain in the Philippines published by Bookshelf PH, a publishing house and online marketplace for local books, eBooks, and audiobooks.

Digital transformation has become imperative for institutions and businesses to thrive in the digital era. In the Philippines, we have seen a blossoming of blockchain use cases in various sectors such as finance, art, gaming, and education to name a few.

The authors hope that the information in the book demystifies blockchain, enabling more Filipinos to build businesses around this new technology. As either the next step towards true financial inclusion or the next big virtual revolution, the book aims to localize the blockchain uprising and give Filipinos a glimpse into how blockchain can transform local industries — from finance and banking to education and even governance.

Told in three parts, the book describes the foundations of blockchain, the cutting-edge use cases and initiatives of the technology in the Philippines, and the regulatory environment in the space.

Banking on Blockchain

Defined as a distributed database that stores information electronically in digital format, the blockchain is best known for its crucial role in maintaining a secure and decentralized record of transactions in cryptocurrency systems such as Bitcoin. The system assures the fidelity and security of data records and allows digital information to be recorded and distributed, but not altered, deleted, or destroyed.

Carrying the negative connotation sometimes associated with Bitcoin and other digital currencies, the daunting task of communicating this information to the masses was undertaken by the three authors to make the subject of blockchain comprehensible even to the most digitally challenged individuals.

With backgrounds in banking, trading and financial technology, and law, the authors melded their varying perspectives towards a greater purpose: to simplify blockchain and broaden the audience of what they believe will completely transform day-to-day life.

The Future of Finance

This book is an account of how blockchain technology has made a significant impact on our nation and its people thus far. In its pages, it promises to answer the burning “what” and “how” on the blockchain, while exploring the most interesting and innovative use cases across multiple industries.

The Next Frontier

The great divide that hinders financial inclusion and digital transformation is seen in how the messages are delivered to the audience. Scaling the digital frontier is an act of boldness that those accustomed to tradition may not bother to attempt — leaving them behind as the future moves forward. Opening the Archipelago also aims to dispel the stigma surrounding blockchain and financial technology, sometimes pegged as malicious platforms or scams, and transmute it into a necessity.

Opening the Archipelago was published by Bookshelf PH, an online marketplace and boutique publisher for print, digital, and audiobooks. According to the Bookshelf PH team, Marasigan, Casas, and Aguda were uniquely positioned to document the potential of blockchain in the Philippines, given their position as executives at Unionbank.

“While there is no shortage of blockchain and crypto advocates in the Philippines, what set the authorship team apart was their deep experience as banking and fintech leaders. They could capably articulate how the technology would transform not only the lives of consumers, but entire industries as well,” according to Sam Balinado, Bookshelf PH’s Head of Content, who works with partner thought leaders and authors in financial literacy, business, and women empowerment.

Pre-order for the book Opening the Archipelago: The Story of Blockchain in the Philippines is now available for only P1,000.