Fintech firm recasts digital-currency proposal

The enterprise software services and financial technology or fintech firm Appsolutely is confident of getting its business model approved by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) when it presents a revised framework to engage in digital coin transactions using so-called blockchain technology as early as next month, executives said.

Such a license is 1 of 7 thus far submitted for approval by the seven-man Monetary Board of the BSP and likely the fourth to receive the green light.

“We have a revised business model and looking to have it approved by the Bangko Sentral when we present it early in December,” Appsolutely founder, president and CEO Patrick Paul Palacios said at a news briefing.

He said the monetary authorities wanted more clarity as to how the blockchain technology would be used and how the basically cash-oriented Filipino consumer may be best protected against fraud and similar issuers down the line.

Appsolutely has its own digital currency called the loyalcoin that consumers accumulate via a customer-loyalty program. The business claims leadership in the area since 2013.

Palacios said a license to engage in digital currency in the Philippines forms part of the larger goal of expanding its blockchain services across Southeast Asia.

It was for this reason that Appsolutely recently partnered with peer-to-peer blockchain platform developer NEM Foundation and the absorption of some NEM executives to the business advisory board to strengthen the relationship.

“NEM’s proof-of-importance algorithm enables a merchant using loyalcoin to monitor consumers who have made the most number of transactions and assign specific rewards to them,” the company said in a statement that also partly explained how the business would work.

Palacios said the NEM blockchain operates at 4,000 transactions per second that he claimed is an industry-leading speed they plan to leverage for transactions involving loyalcoin.

The blockchain extends to Appsolutely the flexibility to retain control over aspects of the transaction process for which protection of customer data and privacy is top priority.

Palacios also said the partnership with NEM paves the way for the establishment of the Appsolutely-NEM Blockchain Center scheduled to operate within the first three months next year, the first of an anticipated series of blockchain laboratories across Southeast Asia seen boosting future blockchain projects in the region.

“This partnership builds upon our strength in widening the adoption of secure blockchain technology among key target industries in Southeeast Asia. With NEM in our advisory board, we will be more than capable to open new horizons with our merchant partners and their customers,” Palacios said.

“Key to NEM’s strategy in this region is Appsolutely’s ability to target the e-commerce space, which is seeing a huge uptick, especially with more consumers becoming more mobile and becoming more aware of their privileges,” said Emerson Fonseca, head of NEM Philippines.