Small businesses in the Philippines embrace bitcoin payments

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Pouch.ph, a Bitcoin payment firm founded in 2021, has facilitated over 400 small businesses in the Philippines to process Bitcoin payments. This initiative marks an important stride in digital payment transformation, according to a press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine. The company intends to reach out to a wide array of merchants across the country, varying from small family-run stores to upscale boutique hotels.

The firm relies on the innovative Lightning Network, built over Bitcoin’s foundational technology, to enable swift, cost-effective, and user-centric digital payments. Through this payment protocol, customers are offered the ability to pay by scanning a merchant’s QR code with any Bitcoin wallet. Subsequently, Pouch.ph efficiently converts Bitcoin into pesos and transfers the funds straight to the merchant’s bank or mobile money account.

Ethan Rose, CEO of Pouch.ph, stated that the lack of payment methods poses a significant challenge for small businesses, especially when credit card companies levy fees as high as three percent. However, the surge in internet and smartphone usage in the Philippines has opened new avenues for Bitcoin payments. This move empowers those without access to credit cards or local fiat currency to make purchases online or in physical stores.

Several local businesses in the tourist hotspot, Boracay, have already adopted Bitcoin payments and Pouch.ph is spreading its services beyond Boracay, successfully onboarding merchants in cities such as Cebu City, Dumaguete, Iloilo and Bacolod City. Establishments in Metro Manila, like URBN QC, Draper Startup House and KosneyLand, have also started accepting bitcoin payments through Pouch.ph. Moreover, the firm offers a Batch Pay feature, empowering business owners to instantly remit payments to employees, suppliers and other beneficiaries, thereby streamlining payment processes.

To encourage Bitcoin transactions, individuals can use BTCMap.org to find merchants accepting Bitcoin payments. Looking ahead, Pouch.ph is planning to extend its Batch Pay services for over-the-counter remittances through LBC, M Lhuillier and Palawan Pawnshop. By adopting Bitcoin, small businesses in the Philippines are capitalising on the growing number of internet and smartphone users and offering their customers more diverse and convenient payment options.

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