Providing access to financial services to those who are unbanked or underbanked has been one of the frequently used bitcoin use-case for a long time now. Rightly so, bitcoin offers the cheapest and the most efficient alternative financial service till date, and the best part is that one doesn’t have to go to a bank and open an account or anything like that. All they ideally need is a smartphone and data connection, which is also not a prerequisite as there are few services that are aiming to make bitcoin services work on simple feature phones.
To get a clear picture of how bitcoin is making progress in providing financial access to unbanked, we can take the example of Philippines. The South-East Asian country where a majority of population is unbanked. However, the country can boast of rising number of smartphone users which is slated to cross 40 percent by the end of this year.
Speaking along the same lines recently on Deal Street Asia, the CEO and founder of Satoshi Citadel Industries, John Bailon mentioned that currently there are many Filipinos who are using smartphones to access few financial services approved by the central bank of Philippines. Satoshi Citadel on the other hand is not left behind. It is playing its part in bringing alternative financial services to the country’s unbanked in their own way. The company has been working on bitcoin and digital currency based innovation for a while now. It has already empowered Filipinos by offering bitcoin based services to receive personal remittance from the family members who are working abroad.
The mobile app targeting remittance allows Filipinos to store the inward remittance as Philippine Peso on their phones and transfer the same as bitcoin to purchase goods or pay for services to those merchants who accept bitcoin payments across the world. Money stored in the application is not subject to volatile prices like in the case of bitcoin. In order to make it more efficient, Satoshi Citadel has recently acquired the country’s first bitcoin exchange — BuyBitcoin.ph which will help the company to offer bitcoin exchange service to those who use their remittance application. It also helps Filipinos buy bitcoin over the counter and use it for both domestic and international remittance.
However, the Filipino bitcoin industry has its own doubts and uncertainties, the most prominent one is the belief that bitcoin is a giant pyramid scheme followed by questions regarding its legality and the final one where some people argue that bitcoin doesn’t hold any intrinsic value. John Bailon makes a mention of all the three issues in the interview and offers some explanation too.
Satoshi Citadel’s services are available for negligible costs, especially with respect to remittance and money transfer. These ventures makes Satoshi Citadel one of the important players when it comes to reshaping the country’s fintech sector and the fact that the company is utilizing bitcoin to do so explains the potential of bitcoin based services as an alternative to traditional banking services for the unbanked.