Local Action, National Vision (2019 Bicol Blockchain and Crypto Year in Review)

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By: Jastine Escuro – Gamora

NAGA CITY, December 27, 2019 — Admit it or not, blockchain activities this year was a bit chaotic. Cryptocurrencies have been broken. The SEC rained at the procession of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Most business projects seemed to be moving at the speed of a snail, revealed with lavish fanfare.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency is still a developing industry in the Bicol Region. According to Rico Zuniga Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of SparkPoint Innovations Inc., the support of the local tech community is a help for the blockchain to gain more and more interests from the local and prospective investors.

Local developers and investors came to the idea of launching different platforms of blockchain and cryptocurrency-based projects to advance the mass adoption of this financial technology. Those projects were, CryptoSolitaire, SparkPoint Innovations Inc., and OnliCoin.

CryptoSolitaire is a network mixing art and blockchain technology to create a new game experience for players. – includes, play card games utilizing non-fungible tokens crafted by talented artists and collectible decks have significant intrinsic value as original artworks.

SparkPoint Innovations Inc.(SPI), on the other hand, is a decentralized platform with optimized crypto trading, e-learning, gaming and online store focused on blockchain. Through its four main functions, users can now store and exchange different cryptocurrencies, and entertain themselves through different e-courses and e-programs in just one platform. Delivering its promises, SPI launched Dlvery Expark (DLX), food delivery and errands fulfillment with a blockchain-based loyalty system, particularly operating in the National Capital Region (NCR) and neighboring provinces.

This year, SparkPoint Innovations Inc. signed an alliance with CryptoSolitaire and formally opens its grant program to the public in order to offer the planned gaming platform to the world. CryptoSolitaire and SparkPoint have the same vision of establishing the Bicol region as a prominent Blockchain technology hub in the Philippines. In this regard, forming a strong partnership is a huge leap forward towards this common goal.

But, just like any other fairy tale stories, it doesn’t always come to a happy ending without a dilemma.

Challenges Faced

Starting up a project is easy but maintaining and sustaining blockchain and cryptocurrency projects’ journey in the Bicol Region is quite tedious with just the limited resources on its palms. These are the common and very typical issues that start-up projects have to endure.

Unlike any other start-up projects, that raise funds from hundreds of millions of dollars to tens of million dollars. SparkPoint, for example, started at a very limited fund. Of course, to utilize their fund, SparkPoint did their best to still work on the project at very limited manpower with at most four developers, in which no same developers are working on the same thing.

CTO Rico said in an interview that operating on limited resources both financial and human resources is really a challenge. But being able to adapt to it, surpass it and see it not as the destruction but as something to achieve the desired goal.

“We’re operating on limited resources […] but we were still able to deliver working products unlike several projects with bigger budgets that failed because they focused too much on raising funds,” quoted from CTO Rico’s statement on challenges faced this year.

Now, the industry cannot just stop there. It has to keep going to fulfill its vision – “mass adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology” – which can be an aid to a great unbanked population of the Philippines.

Silver Lining

The question is, “why those in the crypto and blockchain industry are still smiling?” Well, maybe it is just that I have this sustainable view in every aspect and I also do believe in development that sooner or later this industry will acquire.

When it comes to the blockchain industry, the primary goal is to identify and promote a variety of blockchain projects through its first step – “meeting with government’s regulations”. To foster the local industry, SparkPoint aims to take advantage of this flexibility and speed to set up clear standards and regulations on cryptocurrencies and their issuance. Thus, submitting requirements and other regulatory paraphernalia on the verge of its Virtual Currency Exchange (VCE) license.

Now, its second and most useful step is to “deliver the promise/s.” Given the situation, SparkPoint being the first blockchain project in Bicol has been able to launch its own cryptocurrency wallet with the integration of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance on it. Also, through a strategic partnership of Changelly and SparkPoint, it can already provide a platform that allows for smooth and rapid trading of more than 150 other cryptocurrencies to and from the SparkPoint Wallet (SRK).

Show me… what to do???

From this view, this past year’s disruptions were transitory problems that detract from the foundations of value creation. There are plenty of possibilities from financial services to social media, from crypto-based banking services to liquidating real assets.

Follow this in 2020 perhaps investment money will find its way.

#1 Show Me: The Community

Successful attempts on blockchain do not begin with just its technology or its platform. We start with a community instead.

This argument sometimes missed on those who have never lived through the days of pre-blockchain, causes many to draw the wrong inference about the explanation for the early rise of it. Its community was eager to adopt a peer-to-peer currency and was able, along with its advantages, to acknowledge shortcomings. And then, constructive criticisms enter the field. The community can help the industry and it is possible.

New blockchain projects will begin with a group sharing a common goal and value. This is the blockchain’s core promise: a decentralized, unchangeable database that allows communities to accomplish peer-to-peer, open and productive cooperative expectations.

#2 Show Me: Solutions

Successful blockchain projects are not going to offer alternatives in pursuit of requirements, but rather to address urgent current problems.

History shows that effective revolutionaries rely less on what they are struggling against and more on what they are proposing solutions. The strongest visionaries have small, largely self-supporting projects that grow over time to produce radically improved outcomes.

In this case, with the concurrent problem in the Bicol Region on the low awareness of the locals about blockchain, SparkPoint gave already possible solutions. According to Andy Agnas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SparkPoint Innovations Inc., only a few people in Bicol are aware of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. That is the reason why SparkPoint took the responsibility of bringing awareness not only in Bicol but also in other parts of our country.

“By conducting seminars and events related to these topics, we were able to realize some of our expectations. However, it is a long way to go before we can achieve mass adoption and awareness of this technology,” he added.

In the next year, efforts that suit this environment in the short term or long term will be well placed. The financial services industry provides many such incentives as it is easy to measure gains that can be achieved even in the early stages through cuts in arbitration, litigation expenses and periods. And because of the size of these networks, new functional capabilities can be introduced.

#3 Show Me: Incentives

Successful blockchain implementations avoid creating destabilizing opportunities while at the same time attributing interest to network members who actually create value.

Questioning mere job evidence may seem to lose confidence in the core principles of decentralization. The proof of work can be strengthened to prevent these habits without giving up beneficial opportunities. Essentially, decentralized communities need incentives to keep and verify the tamper-evident archives of their community members, rendering them essentially permanent. We can then decide whether a token indicating an individual stake in the shared property and intent of the community suits the situations with that as a stable cornerstone. If it makes sense, then it must be assumed that the compensation differential formula tokens along the gradients of value creation and long-term stability. Community-based social media platforms are still promising a significant yet still unrealized gap in this regard.

#4 Show Me: Flexibility, Not Rigid Orthodoxy

Successful blockchain implementations are no different from any other start-up business because they need to respond to the demands of their client communities. It is the documents that must remain unchanged, not one’s attitude to problem-solving.

Since blockchain implementations stretch beyond, it is worth re-examining where, when, and how different types of solutions are required by users. In these early days of blockchain, where a definitive framework has yet to evolve, innovators need to be agile enough to explore new user-informed possibilities and first-principle reasoning.

In order to fulfill the vision of a fairer, more transparent peer-to-peer world we need to emphasize culture, focus on solving current issues, continue to refine opportunities and governance, and adapt flexibly as needs and circumstances change.

Why are we moving now?

From a long-term viewpoint, we are at the stage that overheated perceptions have normalized and the industry can be perceived from a more rational point of view, making it the right time to set up proper structures for blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Indeed, because of a sharp decline in cryptocurrency values lately, the blockchain and cryptocurrency markets are quickly cooling down. There is also a significant decrease in the number of ICO projects. Cryptocurrency believers believe that the current movement would ultimately lead to cryptocurrencies being dismantled as they have no inherent value. Some, though, believe that the current condition is simply the result of unrealistic expectations and that the technology has now reached the speculation circle’s “death trap” level.

Simple yet versatile regional developments will help reduce the burden of developing national programs and provide a clear sense of direction during this period.

This article is published on BitPinas: Local Action, National Vision (2019 Bicol Blockchain and Crypto Year in Review)

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[…] SparkPoint, a crypto and blockchain company in Bicol has been busy with a new roadmap for SparkDefi, its governance-based DeFi platform. You can read more about it here. You can also check out the 2019 Year in Review article that the SparkPoint team contributed to BitPinas last year: Local Action, National Vision (2019 Bicol Blockchain and Crypto Year in Review) […]


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