Pakistani Bitcoin exchange Urbudit launched on October 11, with the ultimate goal of bringing the digital currency to the locals. At around the same time, the Philippines got its first enterprise-grade order book Bitcoin exchange through Coinage.
Bringing Bitcoin to the Pakistanis
On October 11, Pakistani exchange Urbudit announced it has launched the first Bitcoin exchange in the country. Founders Zain Tariq and Danyal Manzar told CoinDesk the launch aimed to usher Pakistan into the wider Bitcoin community, as the two entrepreneurs believe on the cryptocurrency's potential in the region.
Thus, Urdubit mainly focuses on both bringing liquidity to the Pakistani Bitcoin market, and educate the novices on the use of the cryptocurrencyt as a commodity. To accelerate these processes, Tariq and Manzar built a Bitcoin community and advocacy group called BitcoinPk. According to Tariq, Pakistan's Bitcoin community is still small, although active, and rather dispersed.
The exchange uses BlinkTrade's open-source, cloud-based software, which provides the entrepreneurs with its Bitcoin trading platform, as well as its tech support, in exchange of a partnership consisting of a 50/50 revenue split.
Two other Bitcoin exchanges have already signed up with BlinkTrade's partnership program, including Venezuela's first exchange SurBitcoin, launched in late August.
Tariq said that doing business in Pakistan required entrepreneurs to take into account the Islamic guidelines, as 96% of Pakistanis are Muslims. Pakistan counts 21% of its population living below the poverty line, and the adult literacy rate accounts for 55%. Given these figures, Tariq stated:
"We plan to create a platform where people feel safe with the world of Bitcoin and hopefully substitute it for trading locally as easily as Pakistani rupees, while giving everyone an opportunity to invest in this commodity. [...] You have to realize that even wealthy Pakistani people fear what they don’t understand, and English being second language – it creates a small understanding barrier."
Coinage as the first Bitcoin open book exchange in the Philippines
On October 12, Filipino Bitcoin startup Coinage announced it has launched the first Bitcoin order book exchange in the country, reported the SunStar. "An order book exchange is crucial to establishing Bitcoin in the Philippines," said founder and CEO Anthony Giovanni Chua. The entrepreneur added that price discovery in local Filipino peso was important to see Bitcoin succeed locally:
"We eliminate our dependence on foreign exchanges, which peg the bitcoin value to foreign currencies, especially the US dollar. With Coinage, we are able to establish the real Filipino price, based on whatever we want to sell or buy it for. It also uniquely serves our market by being able to sell bitcoin in smaller chunks. We intentionally price it at mBTC to make it more affordable and accessible for the regular Pinoy."
The Philippine's 100-million youth population, robust economic growth, high mobile penetration and ingenious use of technology i.e. for remittances, are just few elements that make the country a fertile ground of financial innovations such as digital currencies. And given the Philippines' unbanked population rate amounting of 73%, Bitcoin could be the solution to help fill the gap between the financial savvy and the financially excluded populace.
Coinage's launch announcement came just a few days after Filipino lawmakers unveiled the 'E-Peso Act 2014,' a bill dictating the creation of an electronic payment method to be used within the Philippines.
House of Representatives member Kimi S. Cojuangco, pushed the proposed act to be immediately enacted, stating the country is lacking of an "official medium of exchange or money for the internet."