Technology

Bonds.PH app makes bond investing easy for unbanked

Union Bank of the Philippines President and CEO Edwin R. Bautista says the Bonds.PH mobile app will benefit every Filipino.
Union Bank of the Philippines President and CEO Edwin R. Bautista says the Bonds.PH mobile app will benefit every Filipino.

Have you ever thought of investing in retail treasury bonds? Now the Bonds.PH mobile app makes it easy for every Filipino, even the unbanked, to do so for as low as US$100.

The Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) is the first in Asia to launch an app for the distribution of retail treasury bonds enabled by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

Leveraging on blockchain

“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 or the Progreso Bonds. The mobile app presents a compelling opportunity for all to invest and help the Republic raise funds for economic recovery and COVID-19 response,” Philippine National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon said in a press statement.

The launch was made possible in partnership with Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX).

“This is the first retail treasury bond issuance to leverage on blockchain technology in Asia, and likely the world. The Philippines is ready to lead the way into the future and tech up the nation with innovative, inclusive opportunities, powered by emerging technologies, for the benefit of all Filipinos,” said UnionBank President and CEO Edwin R. Bautista.

The Bonds.PH app makes bond investing easy because it is completely digital and available 24/7. Filipinos, including the unbanked and overseas workers, can invest in retail treasury bonds by downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play. They can pay using e-wallets, online banking, and over-the-counter for as low as US$100.

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

“DLT or blockchain technology is governance by design with its cryptography and programmable smart contracts. This advantage allows the blockchain not only to preserve truth, but also to automate payments, enforce rules, and facilitate complex transactions via smart contracts at little to no cost,” said PDAX Founder and CEO Nichel Gaba.

Homegrown cryptocurrency exchange PDAX is a fintech investment of UnionBank subsidiary UBX.

Enabling financial inclusion

“Given our advocacy to accelerate the digital delivery of financial services while deepening financial inclusion, we view Bonds.PH as a welcome addition to the expanding suite of available financial products serving wide market segments via innovative delivery channels and bridging the financially excluded,” said Bangkok Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is among the most progressive regulators in the world. It has released rules on crowdfunding, as well as draft rules on digital assets and digital exchanges.

“With our mandate to facilitate financial inclusion while maintaining investor protection, we support this initiative, which makes use of Distributed Ledger Technology. We look forward to the results from this initiative, which will contribute greatly to future DLT use cases for capital markets,” said SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong.

Democratizing investment

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) also commended the groundbreaking endeavor.

“I want to congratulate the Philippine Bureau of the Treasury for this important milestone. 2020 will be the year of commercialization of blockchain technology in the ASEAN region. BTr’s efforts to build a DLT registry for bond issuance accelerates the success of the most exciting technology of our time. The blockchain community in Singapore will work together with the Philippines to share learnings, open-source resources, and also facilitate connecting corresponding nodes to integrate market infrastructure for transparency and interoperability,” said MAS Chief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty.

For his part, UnionBank Vice Chairman Justo A. Ortiz encouraged every Filipino to use the Bonds.PH app. Ortiz also serves as chairman of the Distributed Ledger Technology Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Payments Management, Inc.

“Democratizing investment through digital channels and Distributed Ledger Technology allows all Filipinos to contribute to and accrue the benefits of nation building. Every Aling Belen and Mang Juan can save and invest. Download Bonds.PH now from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and invest in our country,” Ortiz said.

So, are you ready to invest? Download the Bonds.PH app now.