PHL govt’s ‘friendly attitude’ lures Indonesian crypto startup

Words by

Digital Reporter

The country’s virtual currency (VC) community last year faced several uncertainties after the government drew ire from companies whose businesses involve the digital form of money. It even came to a point where the Securities and Exchange Commission warned the public about investing on VCs and even declared the token sales of a controversial businessman as illegal.

However, things turned lighter in March, with the country’s business watchdog and the central bank announcing their plan to launch a nationwide campaign to educate Filipinos on digital currencies following the release of guidelines on VC exchanges.

This, according to Peko Wan, vice-president of Indonesian startup Pundi X, “caught the attention” of the company engaged in letting blockchain developers and token holders sell cryptocurrency and services at any physical store in the world.

“For the Philippine market, it’s very interesting that the government has a friendly attitude towards cryptocurrency companies,” she told SparkUp on the sidelines of a meet-up that the company organized on May 30 in Makati City. “This is a very promising market for us to develop. In our roadmap, we see Korea, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland as the countries where we first deployed and now we think maybe Philippines could be part of it.”

Pundi XPOS

The company aims to introduce to the country its blockchain-powered product called Pundi XPOS, which enables brick-and-mortar shops to accept, sell, and buy cryptocurrencies.

While Pundi X has yet to decide on when to launch the product here, Wan said the company sees a huge potential in the country. It aims to deploy “at least 100,000” units of Pundi XPOS worldwide.

In penetrating the Philippine market, Wan said Pundi X will leverage on the huge number of Filipino overseas workers opting to use cryptocurrencies.

“There are over 2.3 millions of documented overseas workers in the Philippines. Some of them choose to purchase cryptocurrencies and send them back to their families. Cryptocurrency can make the cross-border transactions faster and more cost effective,” Wan said in a separate statement.

Wan added that they are considering to tap convenience stores, food chains, and luxury goods stores to become their partners in the Philippines.

“There’s a use case for Filipino market,” she said—the technical jargon simply describing how a user makes use of a system to accomplish a goal. “We’ll start from there and when we see good partners we, of course, want to expand our footprints to physical stores to deploy devices,” she said.

Pundi X is also banking on the growing interest in blockchain technology among consumers and businesses in the Philippines, as well as the establishment of organizations like the Blockchain Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Association of Digital Commerce and Decentralized Industry.

Still, as blockchain is still unfamiliar territory for Filipino regulators, she said: “We will be very transparent of what we are doing here also we are not involving any money laundering, I think this is what the government is very very afraid of. If there’s any regulation in place we will comply, that is our goal.