Philippines is Among Asia’s Pioneers in Leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology for Bond Distribution

July 27, 2020 - 02:14
Philippines is Among Asia’s Pioneers in Leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology for Bond Distribution

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 27 July 2020- The Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), together with Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank)and Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX), is the first in Asia to launch anapp for the distribution of retail treasury bonds enabled by Distributed LedgerTechnology (DLT). 

Philippine National Treasurer Rosalia V. DeLeon said, "The launch of Bonds.PH paves the way for all Filipinos,particularly the unbanked, to easily and affordably invest in the BTr's newestretail treasury bond, RTB-24 or the Progreso Bonds. The mobile app presents acompelling opportunity for all to invest and help the Republic raise funds foreconomic recovery and COVID-19 response." 

The app, called Bonds.PH, makes bondinvesting easy. It's completely digital and available 24/7. Filipinos,including the unbanked and overseas workers, can invest in retail treasurybonds by downloading the app and pay using e-wallets, online banking andover-the-counter for as low as USD 100.  

UnionBank Vice-Chairman Justo Ortiz,together with Treasurer De Leon, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III,Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno and National Economic and DevelopmentAuthority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, inaugurated the Bonds.PH app atthe recent official launch of the Progreso Bonds. 

"This is the first retail treasury bondissuance to leverage on blockchain technology - in Asia, and likely the world,"said Edwin R. Bautista, UnionBank President & CEO. "The Philippines isready to lead the way into the future and tech up the nation with innovative,inclusive opportunities, powered by emerging technologies, for the benefit ofall Filipinos," added Bautista. 

Bonds.PH is blockchain-enabled withtransactions recorded in a DLT-based registry in addition to the existingsystem. Leveraging DLT enables immutable and tamper-proof record-keeping. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)commended the ground-breaking endeavor, "I want to congratulate thePhilippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) for this important milestone," said MASChief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty.  Headded that, "2020 will be the year of commercialization of blockchaintechnology in the ASEAN region, and BTr's efforts to build a DLT registry forbond issuance accelerates the success of the most exciting technology of ourtime. The blockchain community in Singapore will work together with thePhilippines to share learnings, open-source resources and also facilitateconnecting corresponding nodes to integrate market infrastructure fortransparency and interoperability. The recently released Project Ubin Phase 5findings by MAS will facilitate the creation of robust blockchain rails forfuture value creation."

Meanwhile, Chia Hock Lai, Co-Chairman ofthe Blockchain Association Singapore (BAS) and Chairman of the SingaporeFintech Association (SFA) said BAS and SFA are one with the MAS in fullysupporting the Philippines and UnionBank in utilizing blockchain for financialinclusion.

According to Nichel Gaba, Founder & CEOof PDAX - a fintech investment of UBX (a UnionBank subsidiary), "DLT orblockchain technology is governance by design with its cryptography andprogrammable smart contracts. This advantage allows the blockchain not only topreserve truth, but also to automate payments, enforce rules, and facilitatecomplex transactions via smart contracts at little to no cost." 

As such, DLT reduces manual verification andsimplifies reconciliation bringing down processing time and costs. BTrsanctioned the pioneering effort so that through this it can determine ifleveraging DLT makes retail treasury bond distribution to the unbanked feasibleand economically viable.

The Philippine Securities and ExchangeCommission (SEC) likewise offered its support. "With our mandate tofacilitate financial inclusion while maintaining investor protection, we supportthis initiative, which makes use of Distributed Ledger Technology," saidSEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong. "We look forward to the resultsfrom this initiative, which will contribute greatly to future DLT use cases forcapital markets," he added. The Philippine SEC is among the moreprogressive regulators in the world having released rules on crowdfunding, aswell as draft rules on digital assets and digital exchanges.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Central Bank,Bangkok Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP), lauded the initiative for its impact oninclusive prosperity, "Given our advocacy to accelerate the digital delivery offinancial services while deepening financial inclusion, we view Bonds.PH as awelcome addition to the expanding suite of available financial products servingwide market segments via innovative delivery channels and bridging thefinancially excluded," said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno. "From the basic easingof the public's access to transaction accounts to now this offering of retailtreasury bonds to the masses in a simplified yet secure manner, shows theremarkable progress of our shared financial inclusion agenda. This surely marksthe transition of blockchain technology from its buzzword status to a feasible,production grade solution capable of democratizing access to digital financialservices," said the Central Bank Chief. 

 "Welook forward to the expansive adoption and success of this initiative and thepublic can always count on the BSP to remain supportive of responsible digitalfinancial innovations," he added.

UnionBankVice-Chairman Justo A. Ortiz, who also serves as Chairman of the DistributedLedger Technology Association of the Philippines (DLTAP) and the PhilippinePayments Management, Inc. (PPMI) added that, "Democratizing investment throughdigital channels and Distributed Ledger Technology allows all Filipinos tocontribute to and accrue the benefits of nation building. Every Aling Belen and Mang Juan can save andinvest. Download Bonds.PH now from the Apple App Store and Google Play Storeand invest in our country!"