Financial tycoons and tech giants weren’t the only ones building the global fintech industry. Although they deserve much of the credit for the evolution of the sector, small and often overshadowed players have participated in the transformation of the space and private sector-led organizations. Digital Philippines have ensured that this year’s fintech festival serves as a platform to showcase their contributions.
The directory Digital Philippines Festival kicked off on November 21 at the SMX Aura in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, attracting hundreds of like-minded people and aiming to revolutionize the country’s financial landscape.
But unlike Last yearAs part of the Digital Pilipinas Festival, this week’s program spans beyond the Philippines, the fintech sector and the country’s growing ties with neighboring countries, to include evolving industries and technological advancements in the region of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Opening of the event, main organizer of Digital Pilipinas Amor Maclang pointed out that although technologies have evolved over time, only a few have made it possible real solutions to common issues facing humanity, including efficient energy consumption, managing carbon emissions and meeting the demand for inclusive social services.
“Now is not the time for victory lap,” Maclang said, explaining that while there is nothing wrong with celebrating the development of emerging technologies, such as blockchain And artificial intelligence (AI), there is still a long way to go.
“I do wonder, however, about how many real technological advancements there are, especially in areas that make us money, but need to include sustainability and real inclusiveness beyond just talking about real estate porn,” she added.
Undersecretary for Electronic Government at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) David Almirol echoed Maclang’s statement, saying the problem these days is that global industries are working to beautify their products and quickly call it innovation.
“For me, I don’t call it digital transformation; I call it digital pretension,” Almirol emphasized. “Because we don’t innovate; we just beautify the frontend so we don’t have to fix the backend.
In photo: David Almirol (center) with key participants of the Digital Pilipinas Festival
Another telltale sign slowing the progress of the Philippines digital transformation It is the government’s inability to maintain the products and services offered to its population, he added.
“It’s the lack of sustainability,” stressed Almirol, who continues to push for electronic governancesaying this would help realize the government’s ambition to digitalize the Philippines and help it catch up with developed countries.
The DICT official said partnering with Digital Pilipinas in this effort would help accelerate this initiative.
The emerging fintech sector and ASEAN’s position on blockchain
Industrial powerhouses, leaders and tech giants are a great source of inspiration for many ASEAN businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
E-wallets that could provide users with ease of use carry out fiduciary transactions to better GPUs and chatbots that could I think almost like a humanSMEs are there to accelerate what the pioneers managed to create and, in doing so, to develop something newer and sometimes even bigger than we could have imagined.
SMEs took center stage on the first day of the Digital Pilipinas Festival, with companies like AI Rudder, BayaniChannelAnd Prosperne showcasing their products to an audience eager to learn more about the leading companies driving the digital revolution in ASEAN.
“ASEAN’s vision for the digital economy revolves around creating an inclusive digital connection and an innovative region capable of empowering citizens and positioning itself as a dynamic player in the global digital landscape” , said the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN. Hjayceelyn Quintana.
Even though the six SMEs that launched the fintech festival with their innovative solutions differ in the products they offer, they all have one thing in common: leveraging advanced technologies to their advantage, and blockchain technology is one such example.
Asih Karnengsih of the Indonesia Blockchain & Crypto Exchange Association addressed ASEAN’s attitude towards blockchain during her opening speech, where she listed the benefits of emerging technology to society, including providing greater
transparency and reduce transaction costs.
Citing recent data, Karnengsih said ASEAN gradually adopt blockchain, integrating it into various services to encourage mass adoption. In the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, blockchain is being explored and used in
Payments and the exchange of digital assets. Meanwhile, countries like Myanmar are using it in microfinance and digital identification, while Brunei is integrating it into Islamic finance.
Even though ASEAN welcomes blockchain, there remain obstacles that make it difficult for the region to achieve mass adoption, including regulatory uncertainty and lack of trust among users, Karnengsih said.
Blockchain technology was also a hot topic during the panel discussions. Notable dialogue including nString President Stefan MatthewDirector of Operations of the Yolo Group Steve Tsaoand CEO of Creator Omar Mahmoud said blockchain could bring several real-world benefits and utilities in the Philippines, ASEAN and beyond. They also discussed the challenges facing fintech companies seeking to secure investment.
All three panel members agreed that the Philippines has enormous potential to become a leading nation in the digital world and even a fertile ground for unicorns. Known for her blunt answers and sometimes controversial questions, Maclang, who served as moderator of the panel, asked who among the top players in the fintech industry she considers the Philippines’ leader. next unicorn.
Matthews, Tsao and Mahmoud declined to disclose the names of their potential bets, but all stressed that startups must have a mix of creativity, a good business plan and a product or service that could spark positive change to get major investments from venture capital companies. allowing them to reach a billion-dollar valuation.
The digital Philippines beyond fintech
While the Digital Pilipinas Festival is known for being a program rich in fintech discussions, the organizers chose to broaden the discussions beyond the said sector. Organized on the sidelines of the main fintech festival, the Holiday partywhere Digital Pilipinas highlighted critical sectors that are also making waves in the digital world.
On the first day of the Festival of Festivals, attendees were treated to plenty of discussions on video games, climate, sustainability and cybersecurity, with the 10-hour program ending with an engaging talk on the upcoming London Tech Weekof which Digital Pilipinas would be a part, and is scheduled to take place from June 10 to 14, 2024, with an expected attendance of at least 30,000 global investors, technology disruptors, enthusiasts, corporations and businesses.
Maclang promises that the two-day fintech program at SMX Aura will cover more before the three-day innovation tour the same week. The second day of the Digital Pilipinas Festival will highlight other critical emerging sectors, including halal economy, health technology, and digital government, among others.
Watch: Philippines needs to create more blockchain use cases
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