By Espie Angelica A. de Leon
Journalists from both print and online platforms attended a bootcamp on blockchain technology held specifically for members of the media at the SMX Aura Convention Center in Taguig City on May 28.
The bootcamp served as a prelude to the Blockchain Applications and Economics Forum 2018 organized by Singapore-based Blockchain Asia Forum which will run from May 29-30 at the same venue.
?We put this together mainly because we really believe that we need to promote the business of blockchain. It?s a lot more than Bitcoin,? said Vincent Choy, founder and director of Blockchain Asia Forum.
Miguel Cuneta, co-founder and chief community officer of fintech firm Satoshi Citadel Industries, provided participants with a backgrounder on Bitcoin and the invention of blockchain, as well as a description of the technology and its benefits.
According to him, blockchain is basically a recorded history of transactions from Day One which everyone can see. This record is done without human intervention and instead uses a software. Behind an actual transaction, a lot of things are happening through the software to execute it and continue the chain of transactions within a fraction of a second.
This software, said Cuneta, is usually open source and it?s a voluntary network, thus allowing anybody to use the software freely.
?Now, if you?re gonna send money abroad, you have to wait for a few days, go through a bank or another institution, and pay a lot of money,? he explained. ?But this technology will change that.?
Expressing his satisfaction over developments in the country in terms of regulation, Cuneta said, ?Thankfully in the Philippines, we have the guidance of the central bank which has issued some regulations on cryptocurrency trading and exchange.?
Meanwhile, Eugenio Gonzalez, business development director of Unionbank of the Philippines? fintech business group, told participants that at the bank, the process of facilitating a remittance involves 26 steps managed by five persons.
?Imagine the operational costs associated with that?? he said. ?It?s being done in small, small amounts in the provincial areas.?
If you put the whole process on blockchain however, the number of steps involved drops to four, managed by just one person, he revealed. ?If that is the impact on remittance or fund transfer on a very micro case, imagine what that would do if we apply it on everything in banking??
Unionbank is one of the first adopters of blockchain in the country with its platform dubbed Project i2i. The Project i2i allows rural banks to be part of the Philippine payment system.
However, Cuneta made it clear that banking is not the only application for blockchain. Its other use cases include travel, real estate, media, public records, legal matters, law enforcement, and the Internet of Things. Some companies are even exploring blockchain for supply chain management, he said.
Apart from currency transactions, even contracts, assets, data, and others may be put on blockchain as well.
The media bootcamp was just one of many bootcamps that will be launched all over the country, according to Amor Maclang of GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications Inc.
?We specifically designed this Blockchain 101 because if we all believe that blockchain is gonna be the new Internet, then a great amount of evangelization and education is in order,? she said.