[Recap] Strong Community Keeps Philippines at Forefront of Web3 Revolution

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  • Coinbase Southeast Asia Head Hassan Ahmed says Philippines is a balanced market for web3 native startups and a focus for the region.
  • Ahmed emphasizes the importance of onboarding more Filipinos into the web3 space and sees the Philippines as showing the way to the rest of the world.
  • Despite the infrastructure in the web3 industry being less robust compared to web2, a stronger community in web3 is helping drive growth and encouraging builders in the Philippines.

“I think what has happened in the last year and a half is that it is now sort of changing to become a more balanced builder and consumer market… And there have been other promising web3 native startups in the Philippines before as well.”

This was stated by Hassan Ahmed, Head of Southeast Asia for cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, during a panel discussion hosted by Coinbase Ventures and BitPinas at the Philippine Startup Week in November 2022. 

The Focus on Web3

“The Philippines, right now, is focusing on the web3 startup space. For a long time, the Philippines was really perceived as sort of a big kind of consumer market and a progressive connector consumer market,” Hassan added, noting that builders in the country only focus on one goal, which is to make sure that customers have choices and access to the use cases offered by the products in the industry. 

This is where the Coinbase executive emphasized the importance of introducing more startups and projects in the country to onboard more Filipinos into the space: 

“Many Filipino users’ journeys actually start with crypto first. They earned their first crypto, they do not necessarily buy their first crypto. So just being able to kind of build for that kind of a problem statement which isn’t really happening much else in the world right now provides this very unique angle of attack where you can start small (and) build for the local market.”

“But I am very confident that the Philippines is sort of showing the way to the rest of the world, that over time, especially as web3 gaming gets bigger or being able to earn crypto gets bigger, this kind of a problem (in the) space is going to be global and I am very confident that there are going to be many billion-dollar-plus companies and startup projects that are going to come out of the Philippines for that reason.”

PH Startup Panel BitPinas

Why are there few developers in the space?

However, Justin Choi, the Head of Corporate Development at Coinbase Ventures, admitted that the reason why there are still fewer developers in the web3 space compared to the web2 space is that the tools and infrastructure available in the web3 industry are more complicated:

“Today, web3 developers actually only represent less than 1% of the 31 million software developers, and why is that the case? We think it is because the tools and infrastructure available to these developers are much less robust than what exists for web2. So, it is actually very difficult for developers today, even (for) very experienced Web2 Developers to actually transition over to web3 so that you know that that is all obviously changing and we are investing a lot behind that and in fact, a number of monthly active web3 developers continues to grow as the tools improve and so when we think about, for example, the front end of web2 and web3 being similar, right?

A stronger community in the Philippines

This idea is then agreed upon by Elijah Tan, the Head of Exchange and Vice President for Operations of the local crypto exchange Coins.ph. According to Tan, though there are still fewer developers in the web3 industry, the space has a stronger community compared to web2’s. 

“I think that everyone is very engaged right now. I feel so bullish about the Philippines as well as across Asia or even across the world. Like, major crypto events happen almost every two months or so, and there is an event everyone goes to. But in the Philippines it is like a very exciting community, people get it almost every two to three weeks even like over the weekend, there was like a typhoon coming out, and people just show up,” the Coins executive explained. 

For him, the energy of the community is very important to inspire the builders, including the developers, in the country because “at the end of the day, web3 (builders) work together” to develop products in the ecosystem: 

“Play-to-earn has put the Philippines light, figuratively speaking, on the map. The Philippines is so well positioned to take the global stage for web3 right now. Like, great developers have great communities, and people are native to crypto already. I guess some of (users) have learned how to use a wallet first before they have (learned using an) exchange, which is really mind-blowing.”

Solving the knowledge gap

Alvin Wong, Head of Invest at Maya noticed that another trend he sees are educational platforms which are solving the knowledge gap by make cryptocurrencies accessible through learning materials.

“It’s always easy to see how some of these web3 companies are solving the problems. For Maya, it’s more about identifying pockets where we can leverage our distribution, the assets and channels that we have. We definitely see education companies growing very fast. That’s very encouraging,” Wong said.

Lastly, BitPinas’ Editor in Chief (EIC), Michael Mislos, highlighted one of the most beautiful cultures that the web3 space has – WAGMI! 

There’s this thing in web3 called the “WAGMI” (we’re all gonna make it) culture, and that is what I really see here in supporting this particular event that we have right now, and even in offline events, you do not normally see the competitors out there, ready (to put) effort together to pay their bills or to do some projects together, and that is something that is certainly unique here in our industry,” Mislos concluded. 

The Philippine Startup Week 2022 (PHSW22), with the theme, “Homegrown Heroes: Cultivating Future Tech Giants,” is a 5-day conference, happening on November 14–18, 2022. It is in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the QBO Innovation Hub.

This article is published on BitPinas: [Recap] Strong Community Keeps Philippines at Forefront of Web3 Revolution

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.

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Nath Cajuday

BitPinas is the oldest blockchain and cryptocurrency news outlet that covers the Philippine blockchain and crypto scene. We are also writing general and international blockchain topics that are relevant to our audience.