Makati, Philippines, March 29, 2019 – It’s almost a year ago when BitPinas first reported about the sought-after NEM-PHP trading pair. That was January 5, 2018 (sorry the date appearing now on that post got messed up somehow). Emerson Fonseca of NEM Philippines revealed he was in talks with a cryptocurrency exchange to finally allow users in the country to trade their PHP for NEM (XEM*) coins.
Note: This article will use “XEM” and “NEM Coins” interchangeably.
Who were the parties to these early talks were of course not disclosed (and even today, we never asked.) What was important back then at least for us was that finally, there would be a less complicated process to purchase LoyalCoins, a blockchain-based rewards platform which, at that time, was having a hugely popular token generation event. LoyalCoin is a NEM Mosaic – assets (in this discussion, “tokens”) created in the NEM blockchain.
When we finally met Mr. Fonseca and the NEM PH team in, of all places, Baguio City in May 2018 (to think our workplaces are both in Metro Manila) during the Baguio Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Summit organized by 1Punch Inc, it was clear from our conversation that the talks may have fizzled out already. But lots of exciting things are ahead. NEM Philippines have a number of partnerships in the pipeline. Somehow, the convoluted process of purchasing LoyalCoins got easier with numerous articles, guides, and videos. It was easy to forget about NEM-PHP because after all, the backdrop is that there are regulations that must be followed, must be first be enacted upon, or must be enforced.
Although looking back, a license exchange in the Philippines can list NEM because the exchange has the license to do that and probably, a system to do that. NEM doesn’t need the license to have their coins listed because the exchange will have that license. So what’s the issue? Could be the volume. Could be the integration. Maybe it is difficult to integrate? Maybe the systems aren’t in place? Maybe negotiations break apart? Maybe there are finer details in the regulation that must be addressed? We never asked about it and we never pondered or even speculate because it’s not important anymore.
July 11, 2018. BitPinas published the list of licensed virtual currency exchanges in the Philippines. We wrote it to provide a way for our readers to find a list that’s true and constantly updated regarding legitimate virtual currency holders in the country.
It was also on that day when a Jenn Lim messaged me. He said I got the name of his company wrong. He is from Virtual Currency Philippines Inc. And his platform is VHCEX.
We met Mr. Lim in Makati. He said they will be listing NEM, XEM-MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) to be exact, and he’s talking to NEM’s Malaysia team. But having secured a license here, it would just be a matter of time for his discussions with NEM Malaysia to become an opportunity to discuss XEM PHP with NEM Philippines.
Over the next few months, NEM Philippines made itself busy with a series of education campaigns and initiatives. There’s a lot to mention on this regard, but I was at the launch of AMBERLab, a blockchain research think tank housed in Ateneo de Manila University and funded by NEM Philippines. There’s also the blockchain courses it offered to more than 20 schools like Lyceum. These are initiatives that happened and came into fruition from September to December 2018.
VHCEX, in the meantime, worked on improving their exchange, cooperated with the SEC and BSP (just like the other exchanges) in terms of policy recommendations, and continued with roadshows campaigns in countries where it is operating. Along the way, it elected to have its own Philippine head – Mac Ocampo (who spearheaded negotiations with PH partners) and was supposed to have an official launch in January. It did not happen. They actually did not need to have an official launching event. They preferred if their first event will have announcements. And yesterday, 3 partnership announcements were made.
And so more than 1 year later, on March 28, 2018, NEM Philippines’ Emerson Fonseca and VHCEX’s Jenn Lim and Mac Ocampo signed the agreement to finally put XEM PHP on VHCEX Platform. And it’s there. The agreement also included cooperation in community engagement. Mr. Fonseca said that since VHCEX believes in NEM PH’s awareness and education campaign, they can “aid each other in helping people understand the use of cryptocurrency not just as an investment but as a utility and for ease of payment”.
Why bring XEMPHP? It goes ultimately with VHCEX’s strategy to list all the cryptocurrencies that are popular in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. Mr. Lim said he is not interested in listing all coins, just the coins that have demand in countries where VHCEX is operating. NEM is the first and VHCEX will continue to negotiate to list other coins. (He is particularly interested with one of the local projects built on the NEM blockchain, the name of which is also mentioned in this article.)
Subsequently, Mr. Ocampo said the partnerships, notably with NEM and with ECPay allow VHCEX to tap into the market demand and at the same time be really useful for Filipinos who want a much easier way to engage with cryptocurrencies.
Why bring XEMPHP? Mr. Fonseca said it’s about giving the Filipino a chance to finally have a way to convert fiat into XEM without the complicated process of converting fiat into BTC first, and then going to an international exchange to purchase XEM. After all, NEM Philippines is in the Philippines. They brought blockchain courses to universities. They boarded Philippine projects like C Estates, Kryptofootball, Gameworks, and LoyalCoin to the NEM Blockchain. There should be XEMPHP.
There’s still work to be done. It doesn’t stop at coin listing. NEM PH and VHCEX independently confirmed that they will continue their cryptocurrency education and blockchain awareness campaign. Let’s put them up to the challenge.
This article is originally published on BitPinas: The Road to NEM-PHP – A Timeline of Events