Philippine Champions of Technology Call on Filipinos to Embrace Blockchain

Education — learning about blockchain — is high on the to-do list of the country’s champions of technology, to balance the benefits and the risks associated with technology adoption

By EDD K. USMAN Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — SciTech and Digital News

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MARRIOTT HOTEL MANILA, Pasay City, Metro Manila (SDN) — Even before the global coronavirus health crisis hit in December 2019, innovations in technology have been offering solutions on various problems that people were facing.

Donald Lim of DITO CME is known the ‘Father of Digital Marketing in the Philippines. He the lead convenor of the 1st Philippine Blockchain Week 2022.

Then when the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) barreled through across the world, it easily became Planet Earth’s grandest of disruptor — affecting and stymying every aspect of life — from the everyday routine (like going to the market) to going to work to going to school to visiting friends or relatives, to going on travel, to doing business. None was spared!

But then, mainly because of the series of lockdowns that every country put in place, people had time to think and dabble more with technology, created innovation in response to the pandemic.

Face masks and face shields became the order of the day, washing of hands, social distancing, too.

And then those with technology knowhow invented, created, or produced innovations to make people’s lives more bearable. Experts said the rate of technological advancement made an exponential leap — the coronavirus had become an opportunity — not just a liability in people’s lives.

In the Philippines, there were already champions of technology, including on the adoption of blockchain — individuals and/or organizations, to cite two of them: Winston Damarillo and Union Bank of the Philippines (Union Bank).

Now, presently, blockchain, the system that runs cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, etc., is making a big splash once again with the staging of the first Philippine Blockchain Week (PBW) 2022 on November 28 to December 04, here in this five-star hotel.

This morning some of the convenors and champions of the week-long PBW met with members of the news media and bloggers to drum up the event and attract more Filipinos to blockchain.

Atty. Mark S. Gorriceta. He is knowledgeable on blockchain, an exponent and expert on digital assets.

One of them was lawyer Mark S. Gorriceta, managing partner and head of Technology Media and Telecommunications at Gorriceta Africa Cauton and Saavedra. He also knows blockchain distributed ledger and smart contracts.

SDN — SciTech and Digital News spoke with Gorriceta on the sidelines of the press conference during which he, among others, advanced the idea of Filipinos embracing blockchain.

In an article, gave what could be a layman’s definition of blockchain. “At its most basic, a blockchain is a list of transactions that anyone can view and verify. The Bitcoin blockchain, for example, contains a record of every time someone sent or received bitcoin. (Emphasis by Coinbase)

In the SDN interview with Gorriceta, he was big on education, learning about the pros and cons of the technology, which is now being leveraged in a number of use cases.

While he likes and pushes the idea of Filipinos adopting blockchain, he emphasized the need to “also know how to use it, educate yourself, how it can help your business, know the purpose of blockchain.”

By learning about the technology, the lawyer, who has knowledge of digital assets, users would be able to weigh the risks when buying digital assets, like cryptocurrency, or investing, raising funds through exchanges.

Filipinos who do cryptocurrency — invest, raise funds — have BSP, SEC as allies

He said those who buy or invest or raise funds using Bitcoin, or other digital money, have the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as ally.

The key, Gorriceta said, is to deal only with BSP-registered companies that do cryptocurrency, adding there are 18 entities registered with the BSP, with only a half now operating. Apparently, he meant virtual currency exchanges (VCEs) registered with the BSP and, therefore, being regulated by the government.

“Perhaps, we are the only country…that issues virtual currency licenses. You may now buy Bitcoin, Ripple (or all the digital coins), provided with a BSP-registered entity,” he said.

Gorriceta noted that it is not only the BSP that’s giving Filipino consumers the protection they need.

“SEC (Security Exchange Commission) is actually crafting or finalizing the rules pertaining to digital assets.”

It means that when someone is trying to raise funds the government regulations would be able to shield them scams. Raising funds or trading can be done on these digital asset exchange entities.

“This is part of the government’s inclusion agenda, to be able to use this cryptocurrency to benefit Filipinos, including remittances, to further lessen the cost (of transactions),” said Gorriceta.

Most of all, he underscored, to protect themselves, consumers should only deal with licensed exchanges because they are regulated by the BSP. (/)

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