Blockchain for the unbanked: Philippines raises US$5M Series A


A fast growing mobile market, and a low amount of people with bank accounts, allows to use blockchain for financial services, a Philippines-based startup that provides financial services through the blockchain, announced on Friday it has raised a US$5 million Series A led by Quona Capital’s Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund.

Other participating investors were Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, Wavemaker Labs, Global Brain, BeeNext, and Rebright Partners.

Additionally, Kickstart Ventures and the Ideaspace Foundation invested in the round.

“In the Philippines, more people have a Facebook account than a bank account. We’d like to make access to financial services as easy and approachable as getting a Facebook account,” said Co-founder and CEO Ron Hose in an official statement.

The plan for the money is for to expand its service across both the Philippines and Southeast Asia. is a mobile-first platform that allows people to perform banking tasks such as sending remittances, paying for bills and even buying data/airtime packages for phones.

Also Read: Payment solutions key to e-commerce success in the Philippines

The startup has partnered with banks, last-mile logistics companies and financial institutes to create a network of over 22,000 cash distribution centres across the Philippines.

The platform has a presence in 40 countries because foreign workers sending money back home is a huge part of the company.

According to International Data Corporation, the Philippines was the fastest growing mobile market in early 2016 — which has allowed to bring banking services to a population that is more likely to not have a bank account than to have one.

Only 31 per cent of Filipinos have bank accounts and, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, only three per cent have credit cards.

Blockchain allows users to send remittances at a lower rate than Western Union, and helps people take care of everyday services without a bank account. So far, the company claims to have over 500,000 users.

“In the coming months, we will continue to build new partnerships with banks, financial institutions, and retailers to connect customers across Southeast Asia with best-in-class financial services,” said Co-founder and CTO Runar Petursson.

Also Read: Carousell officially launches in Philippines, passes 41M listings globally was part of ‘The Open Vault’ fintech accelerator programme that took place over the summer.

The company also has operations in Thailand.

Copyright: junpinzon / 123RF Stock Photo

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