Wei Zhou, the CEO of digital wallet provider and crypto exchange platform Coins.ph, expressed his views on the potential of the country to become a global Web3 powerhouse “very soon.” He mentioned this during the Blockchain Summit of the Philippine Fintech Festival, hosted by Digital Pilipinas and held last October.
Along with Zhou, the other members of the panel discussion, which was co-presented by Coins.ph, were Eprom Galang, the Managing Director of Coins.ph; Amor Maclang, World FinTech Festival-Philippines and Digital Pilipinas Convenor; Ling Zhang, the Managing Partner of Old Fashion Research; George Michael Aranzaso, the Research Analyst of WOO Network; and Gelo Wong, the CEO of BayaniChain and Likha. The panel focused on tackling the endless opportunities in the crypto and non-fungible token (NFT) spaces, especially in the country.
The Philippine Fintech Festival is a gathering of global fintech leaders and entities advocating for the future of financial technology (FinTech) by bringing together industry leaders, startups, and stakeholders into an ecosystem that advances the discussion forward. During the Blockchain Summit, leaders from government and private institutions shared their perspectives on the popularization of Web 3.0, the metaverse, and NFTs in everyday life.
According to Zhou, the Philippines can achieve massive blockchain adoption and become its epicenter as it progresses.
But to achieve this, he stated that “we really need to learn blockchain, crypto, NFT, and other digital assets by using them in their day-to-day lives.”
Zhou, the former Binance Chief Finance Officer (CFO), took over Coins.ph as its CEO last April. He stated that he plans to take the exchange back to its crypto-native roots, rebuild the platform from the ground up, support more blockchains, and make it the nation’s crypto company. (Read more: [Exclusive] Ex-Binance CFO Wei Zho Is Now CEO of Coins.ph, Prepares to Take Back the Exchange to its Crypto Roots)
Consequently, the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) shared how regulators perceive crypto trends and provided perspectives on the execution of Web 3, blockchain, and crypto to digitalize the country.
“Blockchain technology has proven that valuable opportunities have opened up for Filipinos that wouldn’t have been possible in the past. Because of this, we look forward to partnering with like-minded organizations that push the country’s ICT agenda and supporting initiatives that can bring Web 3.0 closer to the Filipino people,” Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue of the DICT-ICT Industry Development Bureau explained.
Meanwhile, SafePal CEO Veronica Wong highlighted that Web 3.0 adoption would flourish more by partnering with industry leaders and builders in the ecosystem. She stressed the need for “better and safer technologies that will help people navigate space more safely.”
“Right now in the crypto space, we’re just at the right time—not too early, not too late. It’s the perfect time to build and invest,” Ling Zhang, Managing Partner at Old Fashion Research, stated.
The perfect time to unlock the country’s tech potential
Following his vision of digital assets and blockchain technology as equalizers as well as a precedent toward financial empowerment for Filipinos, Zhou, in his position as the CEO of Coins.ph, shared his plans to make the Philippines “a leader in Web3 not just in ASEAN, but globally:”
“What we need to do collectively is make the Philippines a champion of blockchain adoption, because it is really possible. We can share our country’s model with our neighboring countries and help each other out in this game.”
According to him, the crucial aspects the country needs to thrive in the blockchain space are to increase the number of users, grow capital, and create more projects. These “will help our community to take off, and that’s what we’re seeing being built here in the Philippines.”
To support his claims, Zhou cited the current state of the Philippines and the early stages of tech adoption in China, a significant player in the blockchain space, emphasizing that the country holds a lot of potential for becoming a technological leader given how adept we are at rising in this disruptive technology.
The ever-present English Advantage
Accordingly, Zhou also mentioned the proficiency of Filipinos in speaking English, especially with the rapid adoption of play-to-win gaming the country has seen since 2021. They cited that this is mainly due to the accessibility of affordable mobile devices and internet infrastructures available in the market. The rate of adoption in the Philippines in regards to crypto also indicates that Filipinos still see cryptocurrency as a valuable investment. (Read more: PH Ranks 2nd in Chainalysis Crypto Adoption Report)
“Everything in this play-to-earn scene and the like is just starting. We’re going to see more collaborative efforts both from the traditional and the crypto space, and we want to latch onto these concepts and become that platform that will help more people earn.”
Moreover, George Michael Aranzaso, a Research Analyst from WOO Network, added that he believes “GameFi is the beginning of the future, a whole new generation of users,” noting that more and more people are coming onto the scene. Being a foreigner in the country, he highlighted that the biggest advantage that the Philippines has over other Asian countries is English proficiency, given that the language of Web 3.0 and blockchain is English, and he noted that it’s different when you consume that in its native language.
“One thing that has reconfirmed my faith in terms of the purchase of Coins.ph and the possibility to activate the Philippines as the future digital asset hub is the language and culture. I think that’s very unique to the Philippines,” he said.
Accordingly, Zhou stressed the importance of accelerating tech adoption in the country to enable a collaborative and inclusive environment where all of these developments can come together piece by piece. He emphasized that it is one of the essential things we need to focus on our journey to the metaverse.
Making cryptocurrency education more accessible and understandable for more Filipinos
In line with this goal, Zhou also shared some of Coins.ph’s existing efforts to ramp up crypto education, including their partnership with Miss Universe Philippines to launch a three-part Live Crypto 101 series on the basics of blockchain and NFTs and De La Salle University for orientation seminars and booth activations.
“We plan to do more similar events with other schools and universities in the metro. We understand that by tapping educational institutions, we can influence and encourage the youth to start their journey towards digital ownership and financial empowerment,” he said.
Further, Zhou expressed his beliefs regarding the importance of localizing basic crypto education to expand financial inclusion here in the Philippines, targeting the underbanked and the underprivileged.
“One of the company’s initiatives to help with this is the launch of Coins Academy, a series of introductory educational articles, aimed at educating people on all things crypto, blockchain, and web3, and contents are available in both English and Filipino,” a media release read.
In addition, the company also collaborated with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to bring crypto and Web3 education to sports fans in the Philippines through Courtside Crypto, a 1-minute video series that premiered on social media. (Read more:Coins.ph Names PBA Veteran Jared Dilinger as ‘Courtside Crypto’ Man)
Recently, the crypto exchange platform announced that it has acquired an Advanced Electronic Payment and Financial Services (EPFS) license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). (Read more: Coins.ph Secures Advanced Electronic Payment and Financial Services License from BSP)
Coins.ph also launched “Pay with QR,” integrated with the QR PH standard, the national QR-based payment system developed by the BSP, which will allow Coins Wallet users to make convenient cashless payments to merchants and businesses throughout the country.
The fintech firm also launched Coins Arcade, a game center within the platform that will enable its users to play and earn. (Read more: Conquest Event Recap: Coins.ph CEO Reveals NFT, P2E Game Center Plans)
The Coins Trade Desk was also released last month. It is a premier service for high-net-worth and volume users and traders, which enables them to trade virtual assets at a lower spread within minutes. (Read more: Coins.ph Offers Coins Trade Desk for High Net Worth Traders)