Asia-based daily deals giant MetroDeal, the number two e-commerce website in the Philippines according to Alexa rankings, is now accepting bitcoin for its discount vouchers and coupons.
Founded in early 2011, MetroDeal has seen a meteoric rise in popularity among the Philippines’ 33 million active Internet users. It achieved annual revenue of $18m in 2012, and was projected to top $20m in revenue in 2013.
MetroDeal follows a template similar to US-based daily deal giants such as Groupon and LivingSocial. Deals run for a limited time and offer consumers deep discounts from a wide range of merchants.
The company trails only Rocket Internet-funded startup Lazada, which recently raised $250m in its Series E round, in overall site visitation among commerce websites.
MetroDeal is accepting bitcoin through a partnership with Coins.ph, a bitcoin exchange and bitcoin merchant directory provider serving the Philippines.
Founded by Ralph Wunsch, a former marketing manager at Austria-based discounts site Daily Deal, MetroDeal was reportedly designed from a public computer at a local McDonald’s franchise before quickly taking off.
To purchase with bitcoin on MetroDeal, buyers first choose their desired deal and select “Buy Now!”
Buyers must then log in with Facebook or with an email account before picking a payment method. Available options include credit and debit cards, bank deposits and bitcoin.
After selecting the bitcoin option, buyers simply scan the QR code and send payment to complete their purchase.
Bitcoin in Philippines
The news of MetroDeal’s acceptance comes in the wake of a warning from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, to its consumers about the use of digital currencies.
BSP listed a number of concerns about the use of digital currencies, including their high volatility and lack of consumer protections, as well as the absence of regulation imposed on businesses servicing the emerging sector, in its statements.
Though the local community is small, the Philippines holds substantial untapped potential for bitcoin.
One of the largest potential use cases for bitcoin in the Philippines remains in the remittance market. In 2013, the country’s international workers sent nearly $14bn to family members back home, often paying a substantial price through the traditional financial system for doing so.
Given MetroDeal’s size, it could prove effective at raising awareness for bitcoin and its potential in the country.