December 19, 2019 – Depending on who you ask, 2019 is another turbulent year for the crypto and blockchain industries. Globally, we’ve seen companies refocus their efforts or merge with others to survive. In the Philippines, we’ve read about more pending regulations, developments in the space, and more education drive. BitPinas sought the opinion of key crypto and blockchain leaders/influencers in the Philippines and abroad on what they think about 2019 in general and what they look forward to in 2020.
Colin Goltra is a Crypto Startup Advisor and formerly the Head of Cryptocurrency at Coins.ph. Coins.ph is arguably the biggest consumer-facing crypto and mobile wallet with more than 5 million customers. Colin is a familiar face in blockchain meetups and is regularly invited to share his insights here and abroad. Colin is right now primarily focused on the growth of Crypto, FinTech, and Venture ecosystems in Southeast Asia.
BitPinas: Can you please share the latest developments from your company/project/group this year?
The big one for Coins.ph was that we were acquired by Go-Jek at the beginning of this year, which was a fantastic outcome for our team and investors. We hope that it will mark a new era for Filipino startups and will help to prove the Philippines as a rising player in the Southeast Asian startup and venture ecosystem.
In terms of projects I am collaborating with now, I have two local crypto startups that I am particularly excited about. I’m working with Breadcrumbs, a Blockchain analytics tool that’s currently in private beta testing and I’m also super excited about Altitude Games, creators of Battle Racers a blockchain arcade racing game on Decentraland that uses ETH-based NFTs.
What I’m particularly excited about with both of these projects is that they represent a new era in the Philippine crypto ecosystem, one that actually interfaces with protocols directly. The exchange and wallet market in the Philippines (including and especially the work our team did at Coins.ph) is definitely more established now, people generally know the products they can use to simply buy and sell crypto, but we’re now moving to an era where people will hopefully actually *use* crypto. I’m super excited to see that there are Founders in the Philippines now building credible startups at the protocol level.
Please share a personal highlight for you this year in the crypto and blockchain community.
Certainly the acquisition of Coins.ph at the beginning of the year was an exciting moment for our team. I guess on the personal front, it then allowed me to take some time off this year and expand my focus on new crypto research and investments, as well as to collaborate with even earlier stage crypto companies in the local ecosystem. I definitely got to spend some time this year recharging a bit and will be all the more ready to jump into 2020 with renewed vigor.
What do you think is the most important blockchain and/or crypto development in the Philippines/Globally in 2019?
In the Philippines, the major developments were probably the acquisition of Coins.ph, the expansion of UnionBank’s UBX business, investment rounds for SCI and PDAX, continued community efforts by organizations like Blockchain Space and BlockDevs Asia, and the unfortunate shuttering of ConsenSys’s Philippines operation. There was strangely also a lot of free agency turnover of executive talent in the broader Philippine FinTech ecosystem, with senior leaders from many of the top FinTech companies locally switching to new challenges. Overall it was kind of a reshuffling of the deck that I think will lead to a lot of interesting new combinations of key ecosystem players in 2020.
Globally, I think the major macro theme I followed most closely was the continued rise of ETH-based Decentralized Finance (“”DeFi””) globally. Projects like MakerDAO, Compound, Kyber, Uniswap, Set Protocol, UMA, 0x, and others have all had very impressive development this year and the combinatorial nature of the different finance protocols have created some incredibly creative projects and participation is still only just beginning. (I’m actually very excited at the prospect of bringing DeFi projects to the Philippines. If anyone is interested in this challenge hit me up: @Goltra)”
What is your company/project/group looking forward to this 2020 in this space?
I haven’t yet announced many of my personal plans on what I am building next, but broad strokes I am definitely looking forward to the continued proliferation of Crypto and FinTech infrastructure in the Philippines and am actively exploring ways I can continue to be an enabler of these technologies – as an investor, as an advisor, as an executive, or as an advocate. It’s still incredibly early days in the PH startup ecosystem in general, so there is a lot of blank space still to be worked on this coming decade.
What do you personally look forward to in this space?
As mentioned, I personally want to see expanded protocol-level development happening IN the Philippines. The first wave of Filipino crypto startups were primarily focused on granting access to tokens (wallets and exchanges) and enabling basic payments and other early use cases. I think where we need to go next is to start using the technology’s unique characteristics to make crypto-native projects that will transform the Philippines into a global technology center: DeFi, NFTs, Prediction Markets, Security Tokens, synthetic derivatives, structured products, etc. I know that might sound like buzzword soup, but there is legitimately a lot of stuff that needs to be built.
What do you see for the Philippines in 2020 in this space?
Still working on this, but here's a mental model I came up with that I have been thinking a lot about lately – decided to map it out visually
Basically, the path to self-fulfillment is to push as much of your life as you can into the upper right corner & avoid the lower left pic.twitter.com/COJee4DkCL
— Goltra (@Goltra) November 29, 2019
As mentioned, 2019 was a really unusual reshuffling year. Many of the top companies changed ownership, received strategic investment, and restructured to become more nimble in 2019, and will likely go into 2020 full steam ahead with their new roadmaps. Similarly, there was a ton of executive turnover at various FinTech startups and as these people settle into new companies and form new startups, it’s going to have ripple effects across the community. The landscape a year from now is going to be radically different from the landscape a year ago.
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This article is published on BitPinas: Colin Goltra, Crypto Startup Advisor & Formerly with Coins.ph [PH 2019 Crypto & Blockchain Year in Review]