Amihan exec says 20 million Filipinos to experience blockchain by end-2018

Filipino digital transformation (DX) expert has predicted that 20 million Filipinos would be able to experience blockchain technology by end of 2018.

Winston Damarillo, executive chairman of Amihan Global Strategies, made the forecast at the DTS 2018: Fintech and Blockchain Innovation Summit on March 21-22.

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As it continues to develop, Filipino and foreign experts are ramping up the introduction, promotion, and adoption of blockchain in the Philippines. The objective is to raise blockchain awareness, understanding, and acceptance and adoption.

Enderun Colleges and Global Chamber Manila (GCM) are two of the organizations at the front of the initiative to educate Filipino individuals and business organizations on the benefits of implementing blockchain.

The two organizations have been holding summits to educate the most number of Filipinos as much as possible. They assembled a battery of technology experts at the DTS 2018, and one of the mainstays in the summits is Amihan, a Filipino technology company offering DX products and services. Damarillo and his company have been one of the strongest proponents of blockchain adoption as part of organizations’ DX journey.

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“I will make two bold predictions here,” he said at the DTS 2018 held at SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier. “Twenty million people by end of the year will experience blockchain. The Philippines has the potential to be a leader in blockchain,” Damarillo said of his predictions.

The Amihan executive also revealed that seven members of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) are now implementing the Self-Sovereign ID (SSID) that his company built and anchored on blockchain using the Hyperledger Indy.

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Damarillo said these are Banco de Oro; Metro Bank; Union Bank; East-West Bank; Bank of the Philippine Islands; Citi Bank; and the Asia United Bank. They are the seven pioneers of Amihan and BAP’s collaborative initiative the created the banking electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) and digital onboarding platform.

In the pipeline, he revealed, are SSID/eKYC for the insurance and healthcare industries.

Colin Christie, executive director of GCM, sees the information drive working, compared to 10 months ago when in a conference only two individuals raised their hands about blockchain,

“What’s encouraging to me,” he said in an exclusive interview, “a short 10 months later there is an awareness, though still not yet an understanding. At least we’ve taken a step in a short (span) of 10 months.”

That’s the first of the three takeaways, Christie mentioned about the latest summit Enderun Colleges, GCM and their partner organizations conducted on March 21-22 in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

The GCM executive noted that when before few were taking notice, DTS 2018 filled the venue and the attendees paid money because it was a blockchain event.

Christie, dean/director of DX at Enderun Colleges, said the second take away is that people have their minds separate cryptocurrency and bitcoin from blockchain as most people thought they are the same thing. They learned that bitcoin is built on blockchain.

The third takeaway, he added, is that they put blockchain in a single box in the past but now they have become aware the technology has many dimensions.

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“(Blockchain) can be used for this like crypto, can be used for smart contracts, can be used for identity, can be used for fintech like remittance, can be used for medical records, can be used for land titles, can be used for election,” said Christie, who is also an official at Enderun Colleges.

Christie waxed optimistic about the future of blockchain in the country. “So, hopefully, we will leave here today with…that to me can start to unleash creativity. That’s what we wanna see, the Philippines being a creative leader; that’s what I am excited about.”

Aside from Damarillo, other speakers at the DTS 2018 summit also shared Christie’s optimism.

Luis Pineda, president of IBM Philippines, predicted that by 2021 the adoption of blockchain will rise 10 times, saying the technology’s various uses are very important across businesses.

“Blockchain,” he said, “has consensus, governance, immutability, and finality.”

Pineda added that the time to implement the technology is really now as trailblazers are planning to implement blockchain solutions at scale within a year that will provide lessons that mass adopters can learn from.

Nephtalie Cruz of Accenture, one of the multinational BPO companies in the country, believes that the year 2025 will be the golden age of blockchain. He said that over time, even the common people like drivers will be talking about the technology, which is now being adopted by many organizations across the globe.

Cruz said blockchain carries with it transparency, speed, promise of security, and certification.

The Accenture executive acknowledged, though, that while blockchain has many benefits it comes along with complexities and challenges.

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“While there are many benefits and advantages to investing in a blockchain-based solution, the financial services industry may face challenges and concerns,” said Cruz.

“So, are we ready? Yes, blockchain is here but we have to recognize the challenges,” he pointed out.

Zach Piester, chief development officer of Intrepid Ventures, gave a lecture on blockchain use-case in insurance. He said that concerning blockchain, “the Philippines is off the radar for many people.”

Piester noted that, compared to other countries and despite “a lot of hassle in the Philippines, [it] has good engineering ideas, lots of talent.”

Filipinos only have to use their expertise.

 

 

Image: Winston Damarillo, executive chairman of Amihan Global Strategies, at DTS 2018. Photo by Edd K. Usman

EDD K. Usman
EDD K. Usman: 1st winner of “Best Science Feature Story” of 2018 UP Science Journalism Award on February 17; winner in June 2014 for Print Media in Kabalikat Award Media Category of PCIEERD-DOST Science Journalism Award; alumnus of United States’ East-West Center 2008 Senior Journalists Seminar; participant of South Korea 2000 Executive Seminar for Information Technology Journalists; senior journalist at Manila Bulletin until April 15, 2016; stringer/contributor at present for Rappler, Newsbytes.ph, Claire Delfin Online Magazine, Malaya Business Insight, Agriculture Magazine (of Manila Bulletin), and U.S.-based Philippine News. Traveled on assignment abroad more than 30 times. Reports about SciTech, IT, ICT, Current Events, and many other subjects under Heaven.

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