February 06, 2021 at 06:50 pm
Manila Standard Business
Telcoin Pte. Ltd., a blockchain-powered financial technology platform that connects with telecom and mobile money platforms globally, launched fiat transfers between Canada and the Philippines.
The service, now available on Telcoin’s official iOS and Android applications, aims to be the most affordable and convenient option for offshore Filipinos to send money to friends and family back home. The opening of Telcoin’s inaugural remittance corridor marks the company’s first step toward offering users a suite of digital financial products leveraging blockchain technology and digital assets.
The service is offered in collaboration with GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, with more than 33 million users nationwide. Telcoin, a GSMA associate member since 2018, endeavors to lower the cost of international money transfers by emphasizing such direct connections with mobile money providers.
According to the GSMA’s latest state of the industry report, there are more than 1 billion active mobile money accounts in 95 countries, capturing $7.3 billion in annual remittance value. With a total market value of nearly $700 billion, there is massive room for growth in mobile money-focused remittance services.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better launch partner for the Philippines than GCash,” said Telcoin chief executive Paul Neuner.
“Telcoin’s strategy of direct connections with telecom and mobile money partners will enable us to rapidly scale, keep costs low and ensure the health and safety of our users thanks to the contactless nature of transacting on mobile and not at a physical shop. We intend to become a household name in the Philippines, putting more money back in our users’ pockets when they need it most,” Neuner said.
With the global average cost of sending a remittance at roughly 7 percent, including fees and foreign exchange margin, Telcoin is targeting just 2.5 percent or less to send remittance using any mobile device. The figure is well below the average cost of sending money from Canada to the Philippines, which the World Bank reported to be 4.92 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Filipinos receive around $2.8 billion a year in remittances from Canada.
Telcoin is headquartered in Singapore, where it is licensed as a major payment institution. It is also registered as a financial service business in Canada and Australia. The company takes a compliance-first approach to entering new markets, and is in the process of obtaining central bank approval for its remittance services in other jurisdictions.
Telcoin is rolling out fiat remittances in parallel to expanding its non-custodial digital asset wallet, allowing the two tracks to mature side by side ahead of a planned convergence. Unlike many other players operating in the blockchain space, Telcoin requires all users to verify their identity as required by national regulatory bodies—something the company hopes will help usher digital assets into the mainstream.