Go study blockchain, experts urge DLSU students

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Blockchain technology experts and advocates rallied business and legal management students of De La Salle University (DLSU) in Taft Avenue, Manila to study blockchain technology and make a career out of it during the Business Law Conference 2018 held at DLSU’s Teresa Yuchengco Auditorium on July 28.

Jin Gonzales, UnionBank of the Philippines business development director, explains the concept of blockchain technology and its uses during the Business Law Conference 2018 at De La Salle University in Manila on July 28

Blockchain technology, which is currently taking the world by storm, is in its infancy stage in the Philippines but experts say its applications are diverse and its contributions to national development are huge.

At the confab’s open forum, Atty. Rafael Padilla, head of legal and compliance at fintech firm Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) Ventures, encouraged the audience, mostly composed of business and legal management students, to study the technology as early as now and know the opportunities is offers.

Padilla made his point by stating that ten years ago, people would not have imagined the various mobile applications and other disruptive technologies available now. It is the same with blockchain, he added.

“I see that things are accelerating very fast…I do challenge the entrepreneurs here to study this and understand [the] applications. The technology is something that you don’t need to understand in detail. You just have to understand what business cases you can develop and it’s up to you now how to use that technology and be able to monetize it,” said Padilla, co-founder of Blockchain Association of the Philippines and FinTech Philippines Association.

Emerson Fonseca, head of cryptocurrency and blockchain platform provider NEM Philippines, agreed with Padilla and emphasized his company’s thrust on education to generate awareness of the technology as early as possible.

NEM Technologies opened a blockchain hub in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is slated to open additional hubs in Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines in cooperation with the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). The hubs will serve as centers for both entrepreneurial activities and education.

For Jin Gonzales, UnionBank of the Philippines business development director with focus on blockchain innovation and tokenization, there are factors that will support strong and successful blockchain utilization in the country.

One of these is the availability of an aligned ecozone via CEZA which manages the development of the Cagayan Special Economiz Zone and Freeport. Another is the availability of banks with the right technology such as UnionBank.

According to Gonzales, UnionBank has around 460 APIs, the most number in Asia Pacific, linking it up to other fintechs. Aside from its existing network and services, two new products are also set to be introduced to act as a base in the token economy.

A third factor is the country’s innovative English speaking community and its BPO sector.

“We want Filipinos to become number one in this blockchain technology,” said NEM.io regional head of New Zealand and Australia Nelson Valero. “We are at the forefront of the race right now. So we’re telling you to go and study it and make a business out of it. There’s a lot of people who will benefit from this technology.”

“We’ve been trying to push for inclusive prosperity,” said Gonzales. “This technology would bring that forward.”

Aside from banking and financial services, blockchain also has applications in health, education, agriculture, retail, and others.

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