Isabel Laurel, Coinfemme [PH 2019 Crypto & Blockchain Year in Review]

Isabel Laurel: I hope the Philippines snaps out of the waiting game and recognizes opportunity loss for bringing business to our exigent economy. I think that the big no longer beats the small- it’s the fast beats the slow these days.

Photo for the Article - Isabel Laurel, Coinfemme [PH 2019 Crypto & Blockchain Year in Review]

December 20, 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 people who work in the blockchain and crypto industry in the Philippines, including leaders and influencers here and abroad on what they think about 2019 in general and what they look forward to in 2020.

Isabel Laurel is an e-commerce, fintech, and management consultant with her own brand – Coinfemme Consulting. Isabel has advised in multiple blockchain and crypto companies and is currently sharing her thoughts about the industry through the web video series – Crypto Over Coffee.

BitPinas: Can you please share the latest developments from your company/project/group this year? 

In the past year, I’ve strengthened my strategic partnerships with a Singaporean-based management consultancy firm under Bitcoin Association, I’ve completed my paper that qualifies me to graduate from Oxford Fintech Programme from Oxford University (a course I took back in 2018), and have finished my certification accomplished from Blockchain Council as a Certified Blockchain Expert which gives me more confidence to launch Udemy classes and potentially lectures in Philippine universities on the same topics.

Business-wise, my e-commerce business has distributed crypto-fiat ATMs for a convenience store chain in North America, and as authorized by Ledger since 2017, I help ensure safety and privacy for consumers that prefer cold storage ledger wallets, my own shirt designs, and other crypto-friendly merchandise, that’s been a good flow of passive income. In this bearish 2019, I’ve been observant of the behavior so I’ve also been an affiliate partner of Keevo wallets, the only cryptocurrency wallet that has a beneficiary feature, for hereditary concerns upon accidental death.

I’ve lessened attendance in meetups but was fortunate to be part of the Token News Conference in Manila Peninsula having interviewed thought leaders directly, and supported my friends in the industry who assisted in bringing Korea’s crypto business to Manila to validate the market need. Of course, I make it a point to still assist in building communities since I was employed back in 2017 for several ICO projects to do so, and luckily, this 2019, I am also a community manager for Handcash, a BSV P2P company from Madrid Spain and also for THORchain, a Swiss-based, Australia-led team I’ve met a few years ago at the Manila Ethereum meetup community, who are now listed with BinanceDEX.

Please share a personal highlight for you this year in the crypto and blockchain community.  

It’s been a pleasure to meet new people and collaborate with my diverse background and interests, and I found it personally satisfying to create content and start my YouTube channel last November on global crypto-focused updates on a weekly basis, and startups blooming in the industry.

What do you think is the most important blockchain and/or crypto development in the Philippines/Globally in 2019? 

Photo for the Article - Isabel Laurel, Coinfemme [PH 2019 Crypto & Blockchain Year in Review]

Locally, increased awareness and appreciation for the curious minds. I’ve noticed that students are already making the noise and given the opportunities for their careers, it’s safe to say they are aware of how to recognize career paths, and seize opportunities from the events that have taken place- Token News Conference, being one of them. Despite Consensys’ exit in the Philippines (and India), I’m still optimistic about career opportunities especially for Computer Science and Engineering students, (of course not limited to). To add, I really appreciated Luis Buenaventura generously giving out The Little Bitcoin Book to all the attendees, because there IS a captured market and I can only look forward to what they plan to do with the information they hold now.

Globally, Deloitte released a blockchain report that shares 53% of companies interviewed consider blockchain to be mission-critical to their company’s strategic planning which benefits tangible use cases for blockchain technology, be it in supply chain, logistics, and others- take IKEA Iceland for example, they have allowed ETH and are now deploying smart contracts for orders, and using licensed e-money via Tradeshift. I see they are positioning themselves well on this endeavor. Note that Goldman Sachs has also ventured here, and given their reputation, it can hint that this is profitable, otherwise, why would they invest 250M USD on it? I will monitor how IKEA expands this automation across all their branches and see how much they save in both time and operational expense, as it could be a good case study for digitally challenged traditional companies, a usual scenario in the Philippines.

Following this year, HSBC plans to move $20 Billion worth of assets to blockchain, a digital vault, we’ll see how that plays out come March 2020. Talking about the future, I’m reminded of Bakkt’s successful deployment of institutional futures after 13 long months (!) solving a custody problem and promoting a large trading volume too.

My personal take after observing the charts is that it doesn’t fly off the handle each halving. There’s an observed lulling period where volume and value are sideways, perhaps fear overpowers action, but it does go upward. The trading behavior is that most wait and see before taking action.

I’ve also been looking at eToro’s advancements. It’s not just Forex and commodities now, they also now have eToroX which is their crypto wallet and soon, an exchange, currently registered in Gibraltar. eToro has also created an algorithm designed to copy someone else’s trades in exchange for a fee. Interesting and scary at the same time because it could contribute to market manipulation and removing your personal trading instincts if you’re a technical trader. However, it does lead to a market that is less adept at trading technically and fundamentally. Lastly, another big mover was Microsoft’s blockchain project under its Azure line.

All of this information is shared more extensively on my website blogs and social media channels weekly.

What is your company/project/group looking forward to this 2020 in this space?

Once regulations are in place we are more than happy to contribute what is going well for my ventures in other countries. Crypto-Fiat ATMs but strictly on a B2B model. I hope the Philippines snaps out of the waiting game and recognizes opportunity loss for bringing business to our exigent economy. I think that the big no longer beats the small- it’s the fast beats the slow these days. There is a way to work things out iteratively, so I hope they look at projects that just need more attention and funding before other countries get a hold of it- that way, Filipinos can become thought leaders and idea champions- so much talent here.

What do you personally look forward to in this space? 

I personally stick around to stay updated and to be vigilant with my personal investment decisions as well as to continue being an advocate of safekeeping the cryptocurrency one acquires. I hope we could all support each other in the best way we can to bring adoption closer and in a friendlier atmosphere.

What do you see for the Philippines in 2020 in this space?

I find the opportunity for the Philippine market to generate more than just awareness since we see that there are more people attending most meetups these days but beyond this, to demonstrate their interest with strengthening the ecosystem by becoming an engaged community member, actually going beyond just signing up but actually transacting, trading, and utilizing the available tech.

We have seen uptrend from most countries that are crypto-friendly because they have a lot of sign-ups and registrants who move the crypto around the ecosystem. On that note, affiliate programs are still good to keep within the business model, adapted heavily from Binance which has contributed greatly to its expansion.

On the political side, I am less optimistic about the government approving projects and regulating this early. But hey, if you’re reading this and you’re part of the government, surprise me. We also have to remember that Russia’s Vladimir Putin was recognized as a blockchain advocate back in 2015 trying to create BitRuble/CryptoRuble, and as of Q3 of 2019, China’s Xi Jinping was hyped up to accelerate blockchain growth in China. Seeing the international relations these countries have with ours, I hope we get influenced faster than most to get first-mover advantage in SEAsia.

This month, France sets up a legal framework for digital assets that include tokens and cryptocurrency, called PACTE Law, so France is launching its own to appease retail, transportation, healthcare, and media. This is most likely a follow-through from the European Union’s news of building a regulatory framework with stablecoins in mind. But considering our own SEC’s issue with ICO’s, and hey maybe soon, IEO’s as well, all being looked at in skepticism, respectfully we can refine what other countries have modeled and see how it would work in our own country, if not on a local setting, just financial institutions, like how Unionbank and RCBC have started doing.. they’ll realize they would need to catch up to it soon though.

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