Bitmarket.ph and all the places to shop with bitcoin
The Philippines isn’t new to alternative forms of payment. Through the years, companies have experimented with a variety of payment systems: tap a coin or card, swipe, text, scan, etc. Most of these simply never caught on and they never achieved mainstream recognition. And if you were in a different country, tough luck.
Bitcoins, meanwhile, are perhaps the most promising cyber currency to-date. They are accepted in places all over the world, are not tied to a banking institution, and are also not subject to regulation. (For a great explainer on what bitcoin is, check out this piece from CNN Money).
Bitcoins, which have been around since 2009, only really gained global traction in the last couple of years. In the Philippines, it’s been even more recent. One group that is pioneering the push for more bitcoin awareness and integration in the country is Bitmarket.ph. The company, which formally launched in May of this year, acts as a marketplace, directory, and payment processor for bitcoins in the Philippines.
Bitmarket.ph saw the potential for an efficient, secure, and free technology that could benefit Filipino merchants, particularly small entrepreneurs who have been excluded from legacy payment systems like credit cards.
“The possibilities of allowing e-commerce to flow much easier and faster just made so much sense for a market like ours,” said Sabina Lopez-Vergara, the Director of Marketing, Corporate Accounts, and PR at Bitmarket.ph, in an email interview.
Despite the relative newness of bitcoin locally—Bitmarket.ph in particular—adoption in the community is growing, and Bitmarket.ph is constantly expanding their list of partner merchants.
“We are still in the early adopter stage of the technology in the country. Currently we have about 70 merchants activated on our website, with around 30 pending, giving us a total of about 100 merchants,” said Lopez-Vergara.
“Bold prediction, but we are looking to sign up 1,000 merchants by the end of the year.”
Bitmarket.ph is also leading innovations not just for merchants, but for everyday users of bitcoin as well, recently introducing an ATM for bitcoin.
“The bitcoin ATM is the first in the Philippines brought in by the same team from Bitmarket.ph,” said Lopez-Vergara.
“It allows users to buy bitcoin with Philippine peso bills. At the moment, we are still focused on making the whole bitcoin ATM experience better, but rest assured that we will be rolling out more of these machines as well as two-way bitcoin ATMs (buy and sell bitcoin) in the months to come. Hopefully in the future, bitcoin will be as accessible as the fiat currency.”
Moving forward, Lopez-Vergara envisions bright things for the future of bitcoin in the Philippines, citing it as one of the perfect places for the currency to expand.
“We are considered the holy grail as well as the hotbed for innovation. There are many ways in which bitcoin can ease transactions for the every-day Filipino.”
“Most Filipinos do not even own a credit card, and this technology will allow them to make purchases all over the world without the restraints of plastic.”