Coins.ph recently launched a service that allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin at any 7-Eleven convenience store in the Philippines. The process is extremely quick and intuitive and can be done by anyone as seen facebook video was posted by Coin.ph detailing the process.
By removing financial institutions from the process of buying and selling Bitcoin, Coin.ph has not only created a simple way for those that can’t access financial services to exchange BTC, it has also pushed adoption forward within the country.
This new product is extremely useful for the unbanked and underbanked population within the country, which has a low level of financial inclusion. The new service allows anyone to convert Bitcoin into cash without the need for a bank account and it also allows the unbanked to interact with e-commerce platforms and to use Bitcoin as an investment vehicle, allowing citizens to protect their savings from inflation.
Bitcoin in the Philippines
While the Philippines is still an emergent country in regard to Bitcoin, it is catching to the dominant countries. In trading volume, the Philippines comes in 12th today, with Ƀ 666.56 exchanged. It wasn’t always so, however. The country saw an overwhelming increase in volume on the 9th, which reached its all-time high on January 12.
General interest in the cryptocurrency can also be observed on Google search trends. These reveal that Bitcoin reached it’s peak in popularity during the 1st/7th of January. At the time, Bitcoin was worth more than 1000 USD.
The growing interest in Bitcoin within the country has been previously met with new regulations being drafted by the government of the Philippines. At the time, deputy governor of the Philippines’ central bank, Nestor Espenilla expressed his concerns regarding money laundering and consumer protection.
“We are studying putting virtual currency exchange operators under a more formal regulatory framework.” said Nestor Espenilla
Bitcoin for the unbanked
While Bitcoin was created as an alternative to the current banking system, we still rely heavily on these institutions to exchange our BTC for national currencies, given that bitcoin is not a globally accepted currency (yet). However, there are currently many alternatives that can bypass these institutions to deliver exchanging services directly to the customer.
These include peer-to-peer markets like LocalBitcoins or Paxful, or even fully decentralized ones like Bitsquare. An app called Abra also allows users to cash in their Bitcoins for cash and vice versa through registered tellers. Spare employs a similar system that allows users to exchange BTC for cash. The Spare system is useful for both the user and for the merchant.
While there is still a long road ahead, Bitcoin is getting closer to becoming a truly global currency, independent from any form of central authority. Products like the one launched by Coin.ph ensure a steady rate of adoption amidst those who need Bitcoin the most, the unbanked.