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The following is an opinion article which is also an excerpt from the latest BitPinas Newsletter.
- The Philippines has a strong crypto industry presence but also a history of fraudulent schemes involving Filipino-led projects, leading to skepticism and mistrust.
- This negative perception also affects reputable Filipino-led projects, even though rugpulls also happen in projects from international companies.
- The article suggests considering targeting a different market but raises the question of whether local projects should give up on the Philippines altogether.
That the Philippines was at the forefront of the crypto boom is without question. The entire industry knows about Coins.ph, and in the past two years, we saw organizations like BlockchainSpace and Yield Guild Games on the world stage.
Yet for every win, we have some embarrassments as well. Early last year, a local NFT project that imploded—Surf Shark Society—was notable because prior to the “rug pull,” it was featured in mainstream publications. (The founder was labeled “the teenager who found success in the stock market.) It had partnerships with multiple companies. Whether these partners did their due diligence or not, does not matter anymore. (Check out our Surf Shark Society story here.)
There have been numerous instances of fraudulent schemes involving Filipino-led projects, which has led to skepticism and mistrust among Filipino cryptocurrency enthusiasts towards such projects. The saying “Basta Pinoy, Rugpull!” [If it’s made by a Filipino, it is a rug pull!] reflects this sentiment.
This, along with many other similar schemes, had led to skepticism and mistrust amongst Filipino cryptocurrency enthusiasts towards Filipino-led projects. “Basta Pinoy Rugpull!”
Additionally, a project’s token price is also seen as a measure of success too. But in today’s market with depressed prices across the board, which project can be considered a success anyway if the price is the only metric?
This leads this article to Anito Legends, a blockchain game by Filipino creators. The team’s pedigree is not disputed, with the founder having decades of experience in the gaming industry, and its writer being a recipient of the highest literary honors in the country.
The game prominently features Philippine folklore. Yet, despite it being a game first (and play-and-earn second) and clear pride in being a Filipino project, the skepticism associated with Filipino projects drags not just Anito but other projects as well due to negative perception. BitPinas posted about Anito’s new game update, and the Facebook post was immediately flooded with skepticism just because it is a Filipino project. (See the first photo in this article.)
It is unfortunate that this stigma persists. And the irony is clearly visible – there is such a high standard in these projects (as it should be), yet we do not put other elements of our society in such high standards too.
Still, lest we forget, it is also highly likely that we put local projects in the standards of international projects too. (Crypto is global, anyway.) I am not sure if this is a popular opinion or not, but there is a bigger market globally than in the Philippines. So, if the local audience is not appreciative… well, remember that the blockchain and NFT industry’s target audience is worldwide. Also, we have to remember that rugpulls are not isolated to local projects as other countries have their fair share too.
Apparently, everything is online, Sky Mavis does not even have an office here. Maybe, just maybe, international targeting may provide more success for local projects instead of trying to target locally. If you have another opinion on this, do let me know and we can share your opinion on the website.
To summarize, the negative sentiment towards Filipino-led projects in the blockchain and NFT industry may be justified, but it is not too late for the industry to change these perceptions. One option that may be worth considering is targeting a different market altogether. Though there are several factors to consider in this idea, one of them is: is going global the only way? Do we give up entirely on the local front who’s under appreciative of our efforts?
I remember Olympian EJ Obiena, who, despite many international offers and the local sports officials making it hard for him to just focus on his sport, still chose to continue representing the country, despite all the hurdles. We never want to give up on the Philippines. We never do.
This article is published on BitPinas: Newsletter: “Basta Pinoy, Rugpull!” Bias Hurts Legitimate Local Web3 Projects
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.