The year 2021 has been touted by experts, analysts, and enthusiasts as the year cryptocurrency went mainstream. Why? Because the blockchain-powered digital asset drew about $30bn from venture capitalists in 2021, more than in all previous years, according to a Bloomberg report.
Even the US Senate Republican Policy Committee recently headlined in its website “Cryptocurrency goes mainstream”, citing that “cryptocurrency has the potential to reduce transaction costs and speeds and to increase privacy”; and that “In March, President Biden issued an executive order directing federal agencies to report regulatory and policy recommendations associated with developing digital assets.”
I had previously written that blockchain and its applications such as in cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) had a breakout year in 2021; that it already went past its hype. But in the Philippines, blockchain and its applications are still in its early stages, with its ecosystems and infrastructure still being integrated to bring more value to different markets.
What bodes well with blockchain’s adoption is the huge adoption of NFT in the country. I have mentioned before that the Philippines ranked first in NFT adoption out of twenty countries surveyed by Finder in 2021, with 32% of those surveyed owning an NFT which runs on a blockchain network. This was primarily due to the popularity of Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn gaming platform from a Vietnamese start-up, among user communities in the Philippines.
But aside from NFTs, blockchain use is moving to mainstream, with the entry of new applications. One such is PayMaya’s roll out of its very own cryptocurrency feature integrated in its app. This new feature allows for crypto to be embraced by more Filipinos, equipping anyone the capacity to invest and trade in digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum for as low as one peso.
This new feature in the PayMaya app opens new doors for Filipinos who are interested in diving head on into cryptocurrency but did not have the means to access or capability to do so before. This creates a great opportunity for Filipinos, especially our tech-savvy young market. According to PayMaya, anyone with an upgraded PayMaya account can already trade for as low as a peso. No more need for dollar conversions as all transactions can be converted to affordable units, ready and within the grasp of any PayMaya user. No need to use multiple apps as customers can cash in from their PayMaya wallet and buy and sell crypto using the same app.
Going into crypto is a bold move from PayMaya and worth closely watching. It looks like PayMaya is going beyond payments and it is making a big bet on the younger crypto market. It’s foray into crypto is the real deal as it is backed by a Virtual Asset Services Provider (VASP) license from the BSP, ensuring customers it adheres to regulatory standards. It also worked with Coinbase, one of the biggest names in crypto for its platform.
Before this came along, you need to have an e-wallet or bank account as fund source and a crypto account using another app or platform. You then need to top up from one platform to another. PayMaya still offers this service as a cash in wallet for other crypto apps. But with it’s crypto feature, the company is betting on customer convenience. Everything can be done with a few swipes, a seamless process as PayMaya’s e-wallet features give users the funding platform for their transactions without transferring applications and platforms.
What’s most commendable is how PayMaya has customer education in mind. PayMaya’s crypto currency feature in the app which includes a learning guide is a first for an e-wallet in the Philippines. It is very helpful especially for customers who are just starting their crypto journey.
Indeed, cryptocurrency has gone mainstream. It’s already within the reach of every Filipino.
The author is the Founder and CEO of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation consulting firm. He is the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Committee of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX). He is a Fellow at the US-based Institute for Digital Transformation. He teaches strategic management in the MBA Program of De La Salle University. The author may be emailed at email@example.com
Source: Manila Bulletin