On July 19, the Philippine Bureau of the Treasury along with the UnionBank and Philippine Digital Asset Exchange launched a blockchain-enabled mobile application for distributing government-issued treasury bonds.

According to local news outlet Inquirer.Net, the president and CEO of UnionBank, Edwin R. Bautista, claimed it was Asia’s “first retail treasury bond issuance to leverage on blockchain technology.”

Bringing bonds investment to the unbanked

According to estimates, almost 77% of adults in the Philippines still do not possess a bank account. The mobile application dubbed Bonds.PH is particularly aimed at providing easy investment options to the unbanked population of the country.

Commenting on the importance of the application, the National Treasurer of the Philippines, Rosalia V. De Leon, said, “The launch of Bonds.PH paves the way for all Filipinos, particularly the unbanked, to easily and affordably invest in the BTr’s newest retail treasury bond, RTB-24.”

The application will allow national citizens to easily invest in retail treasury bonds for as little as 5,000 Philippine pesos (~$100). App users will be able to make instant payments using internet payment services such as InstaPay, GCash and Paymaya. They can also pay through internet banking or over-the-counter payment through their UnionBank accounts.

The Bureau of Treasury decided to enable the app with distributed ledger technology in order to reduce time and costs during the manual verification and settlement processes. Through the use of DLT, the Bureau also wanted to ensure a feasible, secure and economically viable bond distribution process.

Last year July, UnionBank also launched a payment-focused stabelcoin backed by the Philippine peso to drive greater financial inclusion in the country. In April this year, the bank CEO projected that the coronavirus pandemic has increased the demand for banks to go digital and that it marked the beginning of the end for cold, hard cash.