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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday
- Bitcoin payments firm Pouch.ph has partnered with Strike to help the latter offer to convert BTC into local fiat and then forward the money to the recipient’s bank or mobile money account.
- With this venture, OFWs can now send U.S. dollars to the Philippines and have the funds received as Philippine pesos in a recipient’s bank or mobile money account.
To tap the country’s huge remittance industry—one of the world’s largest and currently valued at $12 billion—remittance service on Bitcoin Layer 2 scaling solution provider Strike recently announced that it will be expanding to the Philippines, adding that it aims to make international payments faster and cheaper than traditional methods through the Bitcoin blockchain’s Lightning Network.
According to the solution provider, Strike’s remittance service has been locally available since yesterday, January 31. Through this, the funds sent from abroad can be received as local currency in the recipient’s account.
“When you think cross-border, you don’t think very fast, very cheap and very good experience…We’re using Bitcoin’s Lightning Network under the hood to achieve some stuff that has never been possible before,” Strike founder and CEO Jack Mallers told CoinDesk.
Founded in 2019, the Philippines becomes the fourth country to accept Strike’s system. It is also available in the U.S. (excluding Hawaii, New York, and South Dakota), El Salvador, and Argentina.
As per the World Bank’s data, the Philippines is one of the top five global remittance markets in the world. Remittance inflows from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) posted a 5.7 percent year-on-year growth to $2.64 billion in November 2022.
“Even a couple years ago, Lightning wasn’t as developed… A network is only as strong as its participants. The growth of the network has economies of scale and network effects that we’ve never seen before,” Mallers added.
For this venture, Strike has partnered with Bitcoin payments firm Pouch.ph. Pouch said it helps Strike convert BTC into local fiat and then forward the money to the recipient’s bank or mobile money account.
“We use the properties of Lightning under the hood. So our users don’t even know we’re using it. They’re just sending dollars and receiving pesos,” Mallers added.
Meanwhile, Pouch CEO Ethan Rose emphasized that the main goal of the partnership is to support the goal of the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Goals to reduce money transfer costs to 3% of total transaction value by 2030.
“The U.S. to the Philippines remittance market is one of the largest in the world, and until now, most Filipino Americans have been limited to outdated options,” Rose explained.
Based on data from the World Bank, the average transaction cost of sending remittances to the Philippines is 4.57%. Currently, 8.9% of the 1.83 million OFWs around the world are based on the North and South American continents, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported.
“With Pouch’s partnership with Strike, we are revolutionizing the way cross-border payments are made, empowering people to easily send money to their loved ones back home. We are proud to be a part of building the world’s most powerful payment network for global transactions,” Rose concluded.
Pouch.ph is currently widely used in Boracay Island, one of the top tourist spots in the Philippines, as it was recently dubbed “Bitcoin Island.” The place got its title through the efforts of Pouch.ph, which has been actively promoting the use of Bitcoin on the island. (Read more: Local Crypto Wallet Eyes to Turn Boracay into ‘Bitcoin Island’)
Last year, the General Manager of the Philippine arm of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Kenneth Stern, expressed that blockchain technology might be the answer to ease the process of sending remittances into the country. According to him, the exchange aims to “use blockchain technology to further the freedom of money not just in the Philippines but also around the world.”
This article is published on BitPinas: BTC as Remittance? Pouch partners with Strike to Offer Faster Remittance Process from US to PH Through BTC’s Lightning Network
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.