A now-deleted Facebook post began circulating earlier reporting about a massive crypto scam that operated in Cebu, calling it the “most significant heist in Central Visayas”.
The supposed “crypto king,” the post said, was about to bring Christmas early to his investors, promising cash for everyone to enjoy. “Rumors of a container with 1.8 Billion Philippines Pesos was to be distributed [on July 28],” the post added.
“Early Christmas” was postponed to July 30.
And then the crypto king was gone.
The post was deleted but in the BitPinas Telegram group, one victim provided more context.
I find it hard to believe that people really thought a single person or team could bring a billion pesos in a container, and distribute all of that money in a single day.
But at the same time, I think stories like this have happened before.
Take for example this 2018 article on BitPinas, about the Bitcoin scammer who facilitated a 900 million-peso crypto scam. “Release me, so I can return the money,” he pleaded. And there were people who were actually believing that he could do it. He could turn things around.
“The ponzi schemes themselves are not the real problem,” founder of Rebittance Miguel Cuneta once said.
“You see, these get-rich-quick schemes are not the problem, but are the symptoms of a deeper and bigger problem — the real problem is that most people have practically zero investment opportunities in today’s world of finance as we know it.”
And it’s true. Also, sometimes people will have investment opportunities in front of them, but they don’t understand what they are actually getting themselves into, if it’s a scam or not.
Add crypto into the mix, and the risk of losing and being scammed is compounded more.
The one key solution has always been education.
In 2020, a well-documented story narrated how Filipinos in Cabanatuan taught themselves play-to-earn games, to earn a living at a point in time when there are virtually no jobs and zero things to do. They learned to cash in and out.
They learned crypto.
In 2022, a semblance of normality has returned (though we still wear masks), and suddenly there are many options to do with one’s time. How do we get people to know crypto if they don’t want to play games like in 2021?
For Bitskwela, it’s really back to basics – structured learning.
That’s an awfully lot of backstory before we got here to the main point of this article. =]
It’s hard to teach oneself crypto, and not everyone has the mental fortitude to sift through forums and videos scattered on the Internet to learn about them. Make one mistake in MetaMask, and you just use all your ETH as gas fee. (This happens, sadly.)
What if there’s a single place to learn crypto in – get this – Tagalog? How about in Cebuano? Ilocano?
I don’t think anyone has done structured learning courses about crypto in local dialects. (The closest to have done this is YGG Pilipinas, which created player guides in Bisaya, Ilocano, and Hiligaynon, in addition to English and Tagalog.)
Coins.ph is doing Tagalog guides as well, but there’s something about an independent platform such as Bitskwela doing this, and in multiple languages.
The question now is why?
Most of the articles about crypto that the regular Filipino reads are in English, even this website where you are reading this.
Jiro Reyes, the founder of Bitskwela, cited a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), noting that while 74% of Filipinos know crypto, 84% of these people can’t explain what it is. The Philipines is a top 10 country that has the most number of MetaMask users. Also, 16 million Filipinos have a Coins.ph account. “Combine both of these, and you come up with a population that is pouring billions of pesos into an asset class they don’t understand on a fundamental level,” Reyes said in an email interview.
The solution of Bitskwela is a multilingual crypto education website that will also cater to regions that might not be fluent in English. “According to Bitskwela’s internal researchers, 99% of Filipino online users from different regions outside the Metro haven’t tackled cryptocurrencies yet. This translates to a massive opportunity for crypto-education locally.”
Going to the Bitskwela site, you are immediately asked in what language you intend to learn Bitcoin – English, Tagalog, Ilocano, and Cebuano.
Click on one of them and the guides are really in the local dialect:
There are companion videos for every topic too in English and Tagalog:
Bitskwela said it plans to cover 8 languages and major crypto assets too.
Reyes said he does not see any direct competitors on the multilingual front. On the second tier of competition, however, I think are the exchanges that have their own learning centers and guide articles, like Binance Academy and PDAX Learn. As noted earlier, Coins.ph is doing Filipino guides too.
Everything in Bitskwela at the moment is free, and according to Reyes, the entire startup is self-funded (!) Recently, they have already opened doors to grants and opportunities.
“Our revenue model consists of B2B educational services, affiliate marketing programs, and B2C master courses and webinars,” Reyes added, noting that they are already working with initial clients for their B2B services. Bitskwela plans to do offline activations, and Reyes and his team are very active in the local crypto community.
Bitskwela did launch after the hype cycle of 2021. Last year, it’s as if everywhere you throw your money in crypto in, it would go up.
Well, not anymore. It’s the bear market and as the old adage said, if you think it’s the bottom, it’s probably not.
Reyes is optimistic about this, however. “We believe current market conditions only strengthen the need for learning,” he said, noting that the time to build has always been during bear markets.
History showed that the winners of 2021 – the people and companies building around play-to-earn, were building since the bear market of 2018 and 2019:
When the bull market hit, they were the de-facto leader of the industry.
“While people aren’t that cough up with trading/investing and staring at charts, the time right now could be used to stregthen one’s grasp of the space’s fundamentals,” Reyes concluded.
This article is published on BitPinas: This PH Startup – Bitskwela – is Teaching Crypto in Local Dialects
Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.