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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday
The Davao leg of the Web3 debate, “Bull or Bear,” was successfully concluded last December 14. The debaters shared their perspectives regarding local crypto and web3 adoption, based on their unique experiences in the space.
According to the organizers, the event had the participation of 126 attendees, who witnessed insightful discussion from the six debaters from different aspects of the web3 industry.
The “One Industry, Six Opinions” panel included Gilbert Lazaro (a.k.a. TitoVlogs), JQ Crypto, Gilson Po, Patty Tiu, Ryan Morris, and Robby Samson. The moderator for the debate was Kish Morales of Women in Blockchain Philippines.
To start the event, Engineer Jefferson Salvador, the keynote speaker, tackled how blockchain gaming can serve as a gateway to web3. He also shared that web3 gaming leaders must resolve past issues with the play-to-earn space and crypto in general to maximize its potential.
He noted that some game developers are mostly further designing their games for financial gain, and that some of them, according to Salvador, forget why they made the game in the first place.
“Dapat ang game ay fun, entertaining. It makes you want to play again and again. It makes you want to compete. Dapat ganun ang game, pero minsan dahil nga play-to-earn, naging financial gain focus ang mga games,” he explained, pointing out that some games lack sustainability.
He also stressed that accessibility to games is also a problem, especially for newbies, as they have to learn a lot of technical terms and steps first before they can actually onboard themselves.
For the actual debate, the panelists tackled issues such as the adoption of a digital peso in the Philippines, Bitcoin being a legal tender, tokenizing documents containing sensitive information as non-fungible tokens (NFT), whether the environmental effects of crypto outweighed its benefits, and whether the Philippines is currently conducive to crypto adoption.
The adoption of a digital peso in the Philippines
For the adoption of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) in the country, all of the debaters were bullish except for Gilson Po. A CBDC is a digital currency centralized, issued, and regulated by a central bank that can serve as a medium of exchange or store of value. It will be a stablecoin pegged to the peso.
According to the bullish debaters, a digitized peso will offer Filipinos better payment solutions, faster remittance, increased transparency, and more secure transactions.
However, Po questioned the difference between CBDCs and crypto, which is decentralization:
“You need to know which perspective or lens you are looking at this question from because if you’re talking about the Philippines, I think their answer is ‘Okay, we have to catch up with the race’ and all of those things. But I’m looking at this question from the perspective of someone who works for cryptocurrency as well as someone who works for a marketing company that specializes in blockchain.”
“I honestly believe that crypto and blockchain were created for decentralization. What’s the difference between CBDCs and the current traditional crypto we currently have? With cryptocurrency, there’s no regulatory authority, technically, but when we say CBDC, there is already someone who’s going to monitor. We also need to question to what extent the monitoring is going to be because it loses the essence of what cryptocurrency and blockchain is,” the Community Builder Director explained.
Bitcoin being a legal tender
As the debaters further analyzed where crypto stands in the local scene, with 4 of them being bearish and 2 being bullish about BTC being a legal tender, they explored the various factors that influenced the decision-making process in the country’s crypto space, including the stakeholders involved, government policies, financial constraints, technical infrastructure, privacy concerns, accessibility, and security.
“My perspective on this would be to use the context of payment partners like Paymaya (currently known as Maya) and Gcash and make a secure, accessible channel where people could scan QRs, where they could simply go to a very easy, hassle-free system, and all you’d have to do would be to buy bitcoin,” Morris shared, highlighting the key factors why he thinks so: Bitcoin is the ultimate cryptocurrency, there are already payment systems in place for it, and it is very well-known.
Environmental effects of crypto outweighed its benefits
Regarding the weighing of the environmental effects of cryptocurrency mining and its benefits, the speakers stressed that Web3 and crypto adoption require a balance between innovation and careful risk calculation. According to them, Filipinos have to keep an open mind in considering all the benefits and disadvantages, as well as the implications on a national level.
“Environmentally right now, Bitcoin has been transitioning to a much more energy-efficient model. There’s a reason why, and it incentivizes the miners. They are transitioning their energy sources from renewable energy. And the majority of bitcoin miners (now) are using renewable energy instead of other energy sources,” JQCRYPTO shared, noting that while renewable energy wasted energy at night, “Bitcoin mining takes all of that waste energy towards their system and uses it for our currency.”
Tokenizing documents containing sensitive information as NFTs
With the idea of tokenizing documents containing sensitive information into NFTs, five of the six debaters are bullish, and one is undecided.
“If we’re going to put private and sensitive information, for that matter lahat ng information nasa blockchain kasi it’s public ledger and it can be accessed; I think it will level the playing field kasi, I think, ang natatakot lang naman mag-publicized ng information nila ay yung mga may ginagawang masama,” Tito Vlogs stated.
Is the Philippines currently conducive to crypto adoption?
This year, crypto regulation in the country has been in discussion not only within the space but within the government itself. For the debate, the speakers were asked how much regulation would be healthy and how it would be implemented. According to them, instead of blindly imitating what seems to work globally, they highlighted that decisions should be based on what works best in the country.
“I’m not sure if anyone knows about this, but we are also the first ever country to have a republic act that allows crypto and blockchain activities to legally operate under the jurisdiction of a freeport zone in Bataan. So we can do that, we can actually legally do that. It’s a major step forward towards crypto adoption,” Tiu shared. (Read more: 2019 Regulatory Developments on Crypto & Blockchain in the Philippines)
Recently, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Web3 Alliance, established by the local key players and partners in the blockchain industry, swore a sworn collaboration under a solidarity statement of the local web3 leaders pledging their commitment to supporting the holistic and ethical growth of emerging industries such as blockchain in the Philippines. This was accomplished during the Global Blockchain Summit, held last October in Bataan.
In the perspective of Samson, he noted that cryptocurrency is no longer a trivial thing in the country as big companies, such as Gcash, have been actively promoting its adoption. But he also mentioned that he also “understands how hard it is to regulate these kinds of things because, at the end of the day, the country as a whole is just not that educated yet in investments in general.”
Last September, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) participated in the meeting of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies, where the two regulators sought definite legislation on regulating digital assets and the digital space. As of writing, there are still no nationally specified regulatory provisions in the country regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain. (Read more: Gatchalian Warns Public: Crypto Just a ‘Glorified’ Casino)
“True to the spirit of Web3, it was more than just a somewhat non-biased rehash of different perspectives. It was an attempt, once more, to find common ground and build a better, more crypto-friendly local space for all,” the debate’s media release concluded.
What is Bull or Bear?
The event was organized by crypto education platform Bitskwela and co-presented by Blockchain Network Philippines and Gcash, in partnership with Tekkon, MetaRollers, Pelaygroundzero.io, and Refit. Bitskwela is also the organization behind the multilingual crypto education project, which teaches users to learn about Bitcoin in different languages such as English, Tagalog, Ilocano, or Cebuano.
The Davao leg was the first regional event for the Bull or Bear debate; probably there will be another one in another province as the organizers teased in a media release, “Which city should be next?” (Read more: Bitskwela’s Bull or Bear Debate Davao Edition Set to Happen)
The first “Bull or Bear” debate happened last November 16, 2022, at KMC Skydeck, Bonifacio Global City, as a side event for the Philippine Web3 Festival.
This article is published on BitPinas: [Event Recap] ‘Bull or Bear’ Web3 Debate Davao on Future Crypto and NFT Use Cases
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.