Tech

GCash Will Soon Allow Users to Buy and Sell Cryptocurrency on the App

After investing in Web 3.0 education.
IMAGE GCASH, SHUTTERSTOCK
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Cryptocurrency, whether we want to admit it or not, is likely here to stay. We're in the midst of the crypto revolution in the Philippines, with some analysts even arguing that our country is Southeast Asia's top crypto hub. Trading and awareness has definitely gained traction over the past few years, only to be accelerated by the pandemic.

According to a report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in December 2021, cryptocurrency transactions in the country rose by 362 percent as of the first half of the year. Former BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said that these transactions were valued at roughly P105.93 billion.

Singapore-based cryptocurrency payments company Triple A also estimates that more than 4.3 million Filipinos, or about four percent of the Philippines' population, currently own cryptocurrency. There is also about 74 percent crypto awareness locally, as well.

On top of these, the Philippines has consistently been a top country in various crypto adoption indices. The country ranks 15th out of 157 countries, according to the Global Crypto Adoption Index by blockchain data analytics firm Chainalysis. The Cryptocurrency Adoption Index of Australian global fintech platform Finder, on the other hand, places the Philippines at 10th out of 127 countries.

As of July 2022, Finder also finds that nearly 39 percent of crypto owners in the Philippines say that they own Bitcoin. Some of the popular coins Filipino traders transact with are Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, among others.

In Globe's case, the digital solutions platform hopes to equip even more Filipinos with initiatives on Web 3.0 education, focusing on the evolution of Internet decentralization and blockchain-based technologies.

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The company recently partnered with communications firm Virtusio International and startup Bitskwela to do so. The company hopes to educate more people on cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the metaverse and related technologies, audience engagement, and the like. This comes before Globe's actual crypto rollout on GCash later this year.

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"While Web 3.0 is still at its infancy, we are already investing in learning to harness its technologies to solve problems and serve our customers and society at large," Globe Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer Yoly Crisanto claimed.

Part of Globe's new direction is bolstering GCash's services for the new crypto market. The platform, which is under the corporation's venture builder 917Ventures, will be enabling users to buy and sell cryptocurrency. Globe looks to explore the metaverse, as well.

While the current bear market (when a market experiences prolonged price declines) doesn't exactly sound encouraging to trade in for now, it does present Filipinos with an interesting opportunity to develop and share insights.

"Cryptocurrency interest and adoption in the Philippines remain significantly higher than the global average, largely due to the popularity of play-to-earn games among Filipinos, the world’s top mobile gamers," said GCash Vice President and Head of New Business Neil Trinidad. "There are huge market development opportunities in NFTs, as Filipinos are among the world’s top NFT owners and popular creators and artists pursuing the medium for creative explorations."

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Data from Finder in late 2021 also pointed out that Filipinos are one of the worldwide leaders in NFT ownership, with 32 percent of crypto users saying that they own NFTs.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), meanwhile, expressed their support for Globe and GCash's venture into the crypto market. Its Information and Communications Technology Industry Development Bureau Director Emmy Lou Delfin explained that Web 3.0 and emerging technologies will only contribute to the dynamism of the industry.

In the past, DICT has already hosted programs like Stimulating the Growth of Emerging Technologies, or SET PH, and the Tech Trends Online Webinar Series.

“Given the dynamic nature of this emerging digital era, we welcome partnerships with stakeholders from different sectors who can help us educate Filipinos about Web 3.0, promote tech talent, and develop innovations creating positive change across the country," Delfin noted.

GCash's rival, Maya, had also launched its cryptocurrency feature back in April 2022. Cryptocurrencies available for trading in the PayMaya app now include Polygon, Cardano, Uniswap, Solana, Polkadot, Quant, Chainlink, and Tether, among others.

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Bryle B. Suralta
Assistant Section Editor
Bryle B. Suralta is the assistant section editor of Esquire Philippines.
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