Slight update on August 22, 2019 to include newsletter form
Introduction to Bitcoin for Filipinos:
What is Bitcoin?
Before that, it is said that here in the Philippines, there are 2 industries that keep reinvigorating the economy time and time again. The first one is Business Process Outsourcing or BPO. The second one, and the biggest, is Remittances. Overseas Filipino Workers have transferred perhaps billions of dollars from abroad to their loved ones at home. Money gets transferred either via banks, Paypal, or remittance centers.
Naturally, these transactions involve fees and time.
So what is Bitcoin?
Just like your cold cash in Pesos, Bitcoin is also a currency. Only that it is digital. You cannot hold it physically in your hand. However, you can use it to buy things and services. Just like your mobile load. You cannot hold it, but you can use it to text other people.
You can use bitcoin to buy things wherever it is accepted. So think of it like your Pesos which you use to buy stuff on Lazada. At the same time, think of it like your mobile load. Once you loaded 1,000 pesos on your phone, you can’t see it anymore, but it is there and you can consume it to text other people or subscribe to mobile services.
Some of the Things you can Do with Bitcoin:
- Buy stuff online from merchants that accept them.
- Transfer money from abroad to your loved ones here. Then convert the bitcoin to Pesos via exchange services like Coins.ph.
- Convert Bitcoin to Dollar or Pesos, then use the converted money to buy things or services.
- Hold it. Keep it. Just like putting money into your savings account. You can also hold onto your bitcoins in hopes that it will be worth more against the dollar or the pesos in the future. You can think of it as an investment.
- On July 8, 2011, the exchange rate is 1 Bitcoin to 31 US Dollars. In 2017, 1 Bitcoin was worth almost 20,000 US Dollars! That’s why people also keep bitcoins and hold it.
Still, why should I go with Bitcoin if transferring through Paypal is much easier?
If you read item no. 4 earlier, it mentions how the value of Bitcoin increases a lot against USD in a relatively short amount of time. If you transfer using Bitcoin, the receiver might get more value when it gets converted to Pesos.
The next one is because of transaction fees. As of this writing, transferring 50,000 php in Paypal will net you around Php 2,800 as a transfer fee. In Bitcoin, the transfer fee is cheaper. What’s more, the cheapness depends on how fast you want the transaction to be. Php 2,800 is nothing to sneeze at. If you can save it, why not?
Say you need to bring your mother to the hospital right now. Can you really wait 3 days before Paypal transfers money to your account? Will you fall in line in LBC to get the money, knowing that time is of the essence? Bitcoin erases all those barriers and brings the money immediately in your hands.
While not a lot of merchants in the Philippines accept Bitcoins (for now), what’s important is that there are services already that lets you get bitcoins, as well as services the lets you convert bitcoin to Pesos.
Bitcoin is just one of the increasing number of items known collectively as cryptocurrency – or digital currency, or virtual currency as defined by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. We will introduce cryptocurrency once we finished discussing bitcoins (or you can click here).