New Filipino Bitcoin Exchange Targets Remittance Market

Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Jan 10, 2014 at 13:59 UTC
Updated Jan 10, 2014 at 18:03 UTC

A new bitcoin exchange, BuyBitcoin.ph, has officially launched in the Philippines.

Unlike many other exchanges popping up around the world, it is not headed by a couple of anonymous coders working out of a garage.

BuyBitcoin.ph, co-founded by four bitcoin enthusiasts from all corners of the globe, doesn’t want to be ‘just another exchange’. It appears the company is pinning its hopes on remittances, which makes a lot of sense. There are an estimated 2.2 million Filipino expats around the world, and last year they sent over $13.9bn back home. This is obviously a huge untapped market.

Where to buy

Filipinos looking to buy bitcoins can simply walk into one of 800 branches of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and make a deposit. BuyBitcoin.ph is working to add a few more payment options, but so far the focus appears to be on good old fashioned cash.

However, since the focus is on remittance, most people will probably use the platform for bitcoin to fiat conversion. At the time of writing, the buy/sell exchange rate was 38,616.53/34,965.92 Philippine peso per bitcoin, which works out to $782/$864. At the same time, the CoinDesk Price Index stood at $850.

Remittance is just the beginning

BuyBitcoin.ph co-founder Lasse Olesen points out that the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, and the third-biggest global market for remittances. Olesen told TechInAsia:

“Many online transactions here are being made by cash deposits in physical locations, and bitcoin is cash for the internet, so it’s a good fit. [It’s also] incredibly empowering for the self-employed freelancer or merchant.”

“It gives you instant access to a global market where you can receive payments practically for free and, if you want, exchange to cash locally. If you’re a small merchant, accepting international payments through PayPal or bank wires is just not feasible with their fees.”

Thanks to Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer network, remittances could be significantly cheaper and faster than traditional wire transfers, but to make it all a reality, a good local exchange is needed. This is what BuyBitcoin.ph is all about.

Philippines Flag Image via Shutterstock