I have Satoshi Citadel Industries to thank for the early onset learning. If you live in the Philippines and have heard of Bitcoin, I would like to congratulate you on taking the next step in getting to know more about this cryptocurrency.
It was the year 2014 when I have been given the privilege to work with a Bitcoin startup who side-by-side pioneered the Philippines space (Read: Our 28th Business: Bitmarket.ph) There were only a few known reputable startups back then; one of the top brokers of bitcoins, buybitcoin, digital currency wallet, coins.ph and SCI’s marketplace, bitmarket.ph
Was I ever skeptical? When it comes to money, after all the network marketing scams, it’ll be hard not to have a bit of skepticism. However, if it involves exchange and investments, it’s important to work (take part) with people who know what the blockchain technology is and passionately can explain what digital currency is to every Juan.
However, not everyone is privileged to work with a Bitcoin company who can explain such geekery in lay man’s terms. With the Internet’s power-providing as much information, research is still your best tool prior to jumping into anything you’re uncertain and would want to explore.
WHERE DO YOU START?
There are two available wallets which you can utilize in the Philippines – Coins.ph and Bitbit; both of which can serve as an e-wallet to receive, send and convert. However, the former has more flexibility and use as it ables you to pay for utility bills such as Broadband Internet, Cable Channel Provider, Credit Card, Home Credit, Government remittances, Health Premiums, Insurances and Tuition Fees.
These two wallets are also by far the available and most convenient way to buy and have your cash converted to Bitcoin in our country. If you still don’t have a Coins account, you can register here and get ₱50 sign-up bonus or use this code: 65styr when you sign up. Upon verification, you’ll receive an initial amount which you can use to experience and have a good feel as you explore how easy it is to convert and make use of the amount to load your mobile phones, send money or simply when you want to see how the value changes over time.
For full transparency: I’ll also make Php50 when you get validated. I can definitely walk you through the process.
[UPDATE]: Both wallets were acknowledged and accredited by the Central Bank of the Philippines.
WHY DO I NEED A LOCAL WALLET?
In terms of flexibility and use, coins.ph is by far the most developed and still continuously developing as it gives more accessibility and convenience to those who may need their money in times of emergency.
Downside, you won’t be able to use these local wallets abroad. However, you may transfer your Bitcoins to another global wallet prior to your trip.
HOW DO I CASH OUT?
One of its most intriguing and trust building feature is the 24/7 cardless ATM Instant payout which allows you to cash out through Security Bank and to top it all, it doesn’t have any transaction fee and complexities. A mobile pin number and authentication code will be sent to your mobile phone and email to authenticate and allow you to do a cardless transaction.
You may also send money to pawnshops like Palawan Express, Cebuana Lhuillier, LBC directly from your mobile phone and get ₱5 cashback for bill payments and 5% rebate for mobile phone load.
There’s a transaction fee of PHP 250 with Cebuana Llhuillier for transactions Php 20,000 and above.
HOW DO I CASH IN?
If you want to add more money and convert them to Bitcoin, you may deposit through BPI, Union Bank, and Security Bank without an additional fee or at your nearby 711 convenience store for a minimum processing fee. Computation will reflect on the app upon typing in how much you’d want to cash in.
How much should one start with?
Honesty, you can go for whatever amount you’re able to convert, hold and let go. Just like how one should handle their finances – you’d have to be cautious and work around your budget. On my end, I practice Peso-cost averaging since converting to Bitcoin works just like how the stock market moves, only, on steroids.
HOW SECURED AND CERTAIN AM I WITH BITCOINS IN THE PHILIPPINES?
As of 2014, bitcoins can now be bought in 14 different banks in the Philippines, according to a press release by the online exchange BuyBitcoin.ph.
Among the banks are the following:
- Eastwest bank
- Sterling Bank
- Security Bank
[Security Bank Video]
HOW ELSE BE I’D ABLE TO CASH IN AND TRANSACT?
You may also use you GCASH, which allows you to direct your money to the linked bank out. However, it may entail minimum charges as you cash out; ₱10 for every ₱1000 of deposits. For bigger amounts, it goes even lower with a ₱40 fixed rate for any amount above ₱4000.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being in control of your money which builds trust and more accountability with greater flexibility. Be careful of the companies you may put your money in, best to read more about the product and services and get to know the people behind certain offerings.
DO I REALLY MAKE MONEY OUT OF BITCOIN?
This is where it can get tricky and why we encourage those who want to have your fiat exchanged to Bitcoin – practice peso-cost (or dollar-cost) averaging, if you have enough money to exchange, always be wary of risks. The amount of Bitcoins doesn’t change unless you have cash exchanged to bitcoins but the value is volatile, there is no concrete or exact forecast on when it will rise more than its current value or if it will drop.
However, at this point, it’ll be impossible for it to drop to zero.
As of writing, 1BTC has reached $7,000 to which have skyrocketed to $11000 in 74 hours and dropped by -$2000 in 12 hours difference and changed again back to $10,000+.
In 2014, before I left the country which has led me to leave the bitcoin company. I was able to purchase a plane ticket online for Myanmar and paid it through bitcoin, as well as a hotel accommodation in New York. That proved its legitimacy in my experience and have made me a full-on believer.
In 2017, as we were having difficulties in remittances due to the hefty amount of transactional fees, paperwork needed and time it’ll take for you to claim your remittance, bitcoin has become the easiest and fastest way to receive money without delay.
What a great time to be part of the forefront as we transition convenience more with the help of technology. Maximizing the use of our mobile phones, it’ll be much easier and faster to pay, transfer and receive remotely.
Bitcoin certainly is a game-changer. I left Php 300 on my wallet back in 2014 and it has acted like loose change you’ve forgotten in your pants and found it close to almost PHP 20,000 3 years after.
DO I RECOMMEND BITCOIN?
So far, if you’re someone who’s still conservative yet open-minded to explore ways to save, invest and make life easier in terms of remittances and paying bills; go for these wallets. I do recommend exhcanging few to digital currency as this is the currency of the future and widely accepted worldwise. It indeed is an answer to real-time remmittance.
But, just as what I previously mentioned – only have an amount that you can consider lost. Still have the mentality of the long run. If you’re still uncertain and don’t have much gut on the currency, exchange and observe and think of the learning as a fee you’d want to educate yourself on how it works.
It’s not a fits-all remedy to retirement, everyday expenses nor a savings account. Only put in more only when you’re comfortable and confident in your decision. I’d still recommend for one to diversify your hard earned money to other investments such as insurances, healthcare, mutual funds and other investments you have fully given trust over for your long-term goals.
When it comes to money, risks are involved.
Hope this post helps! Need help on setting up your wallet and walk you through how to convert? Leave a comment below or you may message me by adding me on facebook.