Endless opportunities in the crypto and NFT space were discussed during the Blockchain Summit powered by Coins.ph, held on the second day of the festival. From left to right: Eprom Galang, Managing Director, Coins.ph; Amor Maclang, World FinTech Festival-Philippines and Digital Pilipinas Convenor; Wei Zhou, CEO, Coins.ph; Ling Zhang, Managing Partner, Old Fashion Research; George Michael Aranzaso, Research Analyst, WOO Network; and Gelo Wong, CEO, BayaniChain & Likha.
With exorbitant fuel prices and runaway inflation right on the heels of the worst pandemic and global crisis of the 21st century, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the country’s economic future. However, major global tech player Wei Zhou, CEO of Coins.ph, feels that the Philippines is on the cusp of something very big, very soon.
Zhou recently acquired Coins.ph, the Philippines’ leading digital wallet provider and crypto exchange platform with over 16 million users. Coins.ph was the co-presenter of the recent Philippine Fintech Festival hosted by Digital Pilipinas, the largest private sector movement for creating a technology and innovation ecosystem geared to bring about technological acceleration in the country and building an anti-fragile system in its societal structures and industries.
Speaking alongside industry leaders in the vertical, Zhou talked about why he is particularly interested in the Philippines now and pushed for the massive blockchain adoption here in the Philippines
“We really need to learn blockchain, crypto, NFT, and other digital assets by using them in their day-to-day lives,” Zhou said, encouraging the event participants.
Within the festival, a Blockchain Summit led by Coins.ph was held. Discussions on crucial topics such as popularization of Web 3.0, the metaverse, and NFTs in daily life were raised while leaders from government and private institutions gave their insights.
The Department of Information and Communication and Technology (DICT) shared on how regulators perceive crypto trends and provided perspectives on the execution of Web 3, blockchain, and crypto to digitalize the country.
“Blockchain technology has proven that valuable opportunities have opened up for Filipinos that wouldn’t have been possible in the past. Because of this, we look forward to partnering with like-minded organizations that push the country’s ICT agenda and supporting initiatives that can bring Web 3.0 closer to the Filipino people,” said Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue of the DICT-ICT Industry Development Bureau.
On the other hand, Veronica Wong, CEO of SafePal actively pushed for Web 3.0 adoption by partnering with industry leaders and builders in the ecosystem. She emphasized the need for “better and safer technologies that will help people navigate the space more safely.”
Ling Zhang, Managing Partner at Old Fashion Research, said that “right now in the crypto space, we’re just at the right time; not too early, not too late. It’s the perfect time to build and invest.”
Coins.ph CEO and Philippine Fintech Festival co-presenter Wei Zhou delivers his keynote speech during the 2nd day of the inaugural event hosted by Digital Pilipinas.
The perfect time to unlock the country’s tech potential
As the CEO of Coins.ph, Wei also spoke of his plans to make the Philippines “a leader in Web 3.0 not just in ASEAN, but globally.” He sees digital assets and blockchain technology as equalizers and a good place to start toward financial empowerment for Filipinos.
“What we need to do collectively is to make the Philippines a champion of blockchain adoption, because it is really possible. We can share our country’s model with our neighboring countries and help each other out in this game,” he said, zeroing in on endless opportunities in this blockchain-enabled space.
Seeing things from a crypto-native lens, Zhou identified crucial aspects the country needs to thrive in the blockchain realm: “We need users, capital, and projects which will help our community to take off, and that’s what we’re seeing being built here in the Philippines.”
The crypto champion also likened the current state of the Philippines to the early stages of tech adoption in China, a significant player in the blockchain realm, and emphasized how big the potential of our country is in becoming a technological leader given how adept we are in rising in this disruptive tech.
Wei drew several parallels between China just before its economy took off and rose to become the 2nd most powerful in the world, and the Philippines now. He mentioned the two country’s similar population structure, with the Philippines having the largest generation of young people in its history as the majority of Filipinos are under 30.
Coins.ph CEO Wei Zhou gives a sneak peek on how avatars can allow users to enter the metaverse seamlessly.
The ever-present English advantage
Online gaming continues to gain traction in the country and shows signs of steady growth in the coming years, mainly due to the accessibility of affordable mobile devices and internet infrastructures available in the market. In terms of crypto adoption, 2021 served as a proof-of-concept for the Philippines, and cryptocurrency is still a valuable investment.
“Everything in this play-to-earn scene and the like is just starting. We’re going to see more collaborative efforts both from the traditional and the crypto space, and we want to latch onto these concepts and become that platform that will help more people earn.”
George Michael Aranzaso, a Research Analyst from WOO Network, who is also a panelist during the Blockchain Summit, talked about gaming and decentralized finance. Albeit being at its early stages, Aranzaso believes that “GameFi is the beginning of the future, a whole new generation of users”, noting that more and more people are coming onto the scene.
As an outsider who has traveled around the world, the crypto leader thinks that probably one of the biggest advantages that the Philippines has over other Asian countries is English proficiency, because the language of Web 3.0 and blockchain is English, and he noted that it’s different when you consume that in its native language.
“One thing that has reconfirmed my faith in terms of the purchase of Coins.ph and the possibility to activate the Philippines as the future digital asset hub, is the language and culture. I think that’s very unique to the Philippines,” he said.
In addition, Zhou stressed the importance of accelerating tech adoption in the country to enable a collaborative and inclusive environment where all of these developments can come together piece by piece. This, he said, is one of the essential things we need to focus on our journey to the metaverse.
Exciting new developments exploring innovations in the metaverse include the creation of avatars with customizable features andallowing users to move freely from one experience to another, all while taking their identities and money with them.
Making cryptocurrency education more accessible and understandable for more Filipinos
Zhou also shared some of the company’s existing efforts to ramp up crypto education. These include partnerships with Miss Universe Philippines to launch a three-part Live Crypto 101 series on the basics of blockchain and NFTs and the De La Salle University for orientation seminars and booth activations.
“We plan to do more similar events with other schools and universities in the metro. We understand that through tapping educational institutions we can influence and encourage the youth to start their journey towards digital ownership and financial empowerment.”
Zhou believes in the importance of localizing basic crypto education to expand financial inclusion here in the Philippines targeting the underbanked and the underprivileged. One of the company’s initiatives to help with this is the launch of Coins Academy, a series of introductory educational articles, aimed at educating people on all things crypto, blockchain, and web3, and contents are available in both English and Filipino.
The company also worked with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to bring crypto and Web3 education to sports fans in the Philippines through Courtside Crypto, a 1-minute video series that premiered on social media.
Upcoming services and activities by Coins.ph that customers can enjoy include the Coins Trade Desk for an easy and seamless trading experience; improved Coins Pro UI/UX with more cryptocurrency tokens; and the company’s metaverse participation through the Virtual Influencer Tiktok Studio to be launched in Manila.
Coins.ph recently launched the Coins Arcade, allowing users to indulge in both Web2 and Web3 gaming where they can play to earn tokens. The company has also recently announced that Coins Pro was granted the advanced Electronic Payment & Financial Services (EPFS) License by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to allow users to trade crypto with PHP spot pairs.