PH to take lead in global blockchain adoption, says tech guru

By Edd K. Usman

The Philippines is set to become one of the global leaders in adopting blockchain technology, a Filipino tech guru said.

Winston Damarillo, founder and CEO of Amihan Global Strategies, made this fearless forecast after his company secured a contract to develop a Self-Sovereign ID (SSID) solution using blockchain for seven Philippine banks.

Damarillo: “Let's create our own Grab, our own Airbnb. Focus on solutions for Filipinos.”

Filipino software guru Winston Damarillo

“We are early. And blockchain is also early. So, it means we are currently ahead,” he said at the sidelines of the Developers Conference (DevCon) Summit 2017 on Nov. 18-19 in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

Its SSID project, which is currently being done for the Bankers’ Association of the Philippines, involves seven participants: Asia United Bank, Banco de Oro, Bank of the Philippines, Citibank, East-West Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, and Union Bank.

Unlike regular IDs, owners of SSIDs can choose when to allow an entity to get hold of the data, for a limited period of time. As a result, once a transaction is completed the owner of the data can have his data back.

A person only has to input his data (age, driver’s licence, etc.) to the blockchain and claim it as his own and then have it validated by one member of the blockchain.

“We told the banks [that the members themselves are competitiors], so who will keep customers’ data? So, we suggested that they instead use blockchain and its Self Sovereign ID and build it for the customers,” said Damarillo, one of the Filipinos who continue to do good in Silicon Valley.

If a customer opens an account with a bank, which then finds out that his/her identity and data was already validated by another bank, the first bank will accept the customer’s data without further questions. The SSID will also be accepted by every member of the blockchain.

“Actually, we are top three in the world (in adoption of blockchain). We are early but blockchain is also early. So, I think when blockchain becomes mainstream there is a big probability the Philippines will be a leader,” said Damarillo, who is also the founder of DevCon.

For this year, the event deep-dived into a whole lot of discussions on blockchain, Developers and Operations (DevOps), Artificial Intelligence, (AI) and cybersecurity.

Filipino developers must study and learn about the four technologies to prepare them for the future characterized by fast-changing workplace driven by various technologies and innovations, he said.

“I think the important part of DevCon is that we wanted to make sure that as the Philippines is becoming digital that we control our own destiny. We can write our own software, or at least we can partner with global experts to develop solutions for the Philippines,” he said. “Let’s create our own Grab, our own Airbnb. Focus on solutions for Filipinos.”

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