Miguel Cuneta is co-founder of 'Satoshi Citadel Industries', the parent company behind the remittance processor 'rebit.ph', the Bitcoin exchange 'buybitcoin.ph', Bitcoin merchant payment processor 'bitmarket.ph' and other Philippine- based Bitcoin projects. Bitmarket has enabled more than 250 merchants already.
Mr Cuneta, the remittance platform 'rebit.ph' transmits funds solely via Bitcoin. What advantages does this approach have compared to conventional methods?
Mr Cuneta: Rebit.ph uses Bitcoin purely as the value transfer mechanism to make international and domestic transfers without having to go through traditional channels. Users then receive the money in the Philippines in Pesos, either straight to their bank accounts or via cash pickup in thousands of locations all over the Philippines.
The receiver doesn't even know that Bitcoin was used, only the sender. In one case like our partnership with Bitspark.io in Hong Kong, the sender also doesnt know Bitcoin was used. This is our goal, which is to make Cash to Cash remittance corridors using Bitcoin as the rails for the transfer.
Why Bitcoin? It allows instant settlement between us and the sender. When we receive the Bitcoin, we are guaranteed that there will be no fraud or chargeback or any kind of problem in the future regarding the transfer, which allows us to pay out the cash equivalent immediately. For the senders, it is now possible to send as little as P1,000 ($22.00) from anywhere in the world to the Philippines, straight into someone's bank account or their hands, and pay only very minimal fees. Compared to conventional methods where sending $22.00 internationally is impractically expensive to the point that the fee could be bigger than the amount. Micro-remittances are now possible,and this solves a lot of other problems like misuse and misappropriation of funds.
How is 'rebit.ph' being accepted by the market?
Mr Cuneta: We are actually exceeding all the targets we set for ourselves, by far. The user base is growing steadily, and the volume of Bitcoin coming in has been growing quite faster. We are also actively seeking "on-ramp" partners in each major remittance corridor, and to our surprise, a lot of companies and individuals have reached out to us with the intention of partnering up with us as well.
Were there any effects you did not forsee?
Mr Cuneta: We did not foresee how fast we will grow and how fast we have to adjust to the roller coaster ride of the Bitcoin industry. So far we have handled it quite well and we are very proud too have accomplished what we have so far.
What is your prediction for working with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general?
Mr Cuneta: I believe that we are at a very early stage in terms of technology, and that most of the things we are doing now in bitcoin will either become obsolete or unnecessary. I think Bitcoin is here to stay no matter what happens because you cannot really deny its utility in many different industries and applications. Bitcoin tech needs time to mature and for all those seeds of effort and investments to grow and bear fruit.
Bitcoin is still growing up, but when it does finally make it, it will change the way we do almost everything, the way we understand money, and the balance of power in commerce and finance. I believe Bitcoin will empower a lot of people worldwide and that's one of the reasons why we at SCI are doing this in the Philippines.
Thank you for your insights!