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Gaming

ULeague helps battle COVID-19 via Mobile Legends

More than just competing for gaming glory, the top esports teams in the ULeague Mobile Legends Charity Clash Tournament are helping in the fight against COVID-19.

More than just competing for gaming glory, the esports teams in the ULeague Mobile Legends Charity Clash Tournament are helping in the fight against COVID-19.

Scheduled on Sept. 16 and 17, the Championship Round of the charity tournament will be livestreamed on the ULeague Facebook page. Proceeds from the ULeague teams in the Charity Clash Tournament were given to COVID-19 initiatives of various nonprofits as a way for the esports and gaming community to help vulnerable communities cope with the pandemic.

“ULeague is a corporate league where companies, gamers, and professional esports athletes can engage in competition and promote the thriving esports industry. Esports is such an interesting industry and has seen tremendous growth in viewership and revenue in recent years,” said Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) Vice Chairman Justo A. Ortiz in a press statement.

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Technology

Cloud-first bank: Standard Chartered, Microsoft team up

Standard Chartered’s digital transformation into a cloud-first bank will enable it to offer new banking experiences.
Standard Chartered’s digital transformation into a cloud-first bank will enable it to offer new banking experiences.

Standard Chartered Bank and Microsoft have announced a three-year strategic partnership to accelerate the bank’s digital transformation through a cloud-first strategy. This will allow it to leverage Microsoft Azure in its bid to become a cloud-first bank.

This partnership marks a significant milestone for Standard Chartered in making its vision for virtual banking, next-generation payments, open banking, and banking-as-a-service a reality. Leveraging Microsoft Azure as a preferred cloud platform, the companies will also co-innovate in open banking and real-time payments to help the bank unlock new banking experiences for clients. 

“Cloud is a cornerstone of Standard Chartered’s strategy to meet the present and future banking needs of our clients. Cloud providers have invested massively in the reliability and automation of infrastructure and platforms. Using cloud services improves our ability to be agile and innovative, while increasing our operational efficiency and resilience. As disruption in the financial industry continues, we can focus on client benefits by deploying our solutions quicker and allowing for faster integration of new business models and partners. To realize our digital ambitions, Standard Chartered has chosen Microsoft as a strategic partner and this partnership marks a major milestone for the bank in adopting a cloud-first approach,” said Standard Chartered Group Chief Information Officer Michael Gorriz in a press statement.

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Technology

Komo, EastWest’s all-digital bank, eyes ‘younger upstarts’

Isabelle Yap, Special Projects Officer and AVP at East West Banking Corporation, said they are launching Komo because while they believe brick and mortar will not go away anytime soon, digital is the future.
Isabelle Yap, Special Projects Officer and AVP at East West Banking Corporation, said they are launching Komo because while they believe brick and mortar will not go away anytime soon, digital is the future.

What’s in a name? In the case of Komo, the all-digital bank that East West Banking Corporation is launching this year, it’s a name that they hope will become synonymous with a good digital banking experience.

“We would like to have a distinctive name and let the name be defined by the value we give to customers. The idea is to associate Komo with a good digital banking experience. From the start, we knew that we wanted to make customers feel calm and assured by creating a product that was easy to use, secure, and reliable. Our goal was to simplify customers’ lives by giving them full control over their money. Translate that to Filipino and you might say kontrol mo ang pera mo (you control your money) — hence, Ko-mo,” Isabelle Yap, Special Projects Officer and AVP at EastWest, told Digital Life Asia.

The bank is offering Komo through its subsidiary EastWest Rural Bank. Yap said Komo will target a different market segment than EastWest’s own digital banking services.

“We believe that there are segments in the market where Komo makes sense, and there are segments in the market who want digital banking services but still coupled with brick and mortar. Each segment has different needs, and therefore, may not want the same products or experience. For example, Komo’s target market is focused mainly on younger upstarts, which is different from EastWest’s target market. Therefore, the corresponding products and services offered will be different.” she said.

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Gaming

ULeague Mobile Legends charity clash gears for Round 2

The ULeague is Union Bank of the Philippines’ inter-company esports league.

Will Round 1 champions SALARIUM emerge victorious again? Or will the ULeague crown a new winner in Round 2 of its Mobile Legends Charity Clash Tournament?

The ULeague is Union Bank of the Philippines’ (UnionBank) inter-company esports league. It is holding the ULeague Charity Clash Tournament, an online competition featuring the popular game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. This charity clash is organized by UnionBank and its partners. These include the Distributed Ledger Technology Association of the Philippines, Fintech Philippines Association, UShare, and Tech Up Pilipinas Inc.

Round 2 of the tournament is scheduled on July 2-3. All participating companies have pledged a donation which will go towards charities with COVID-19 relief campaigns, including Caritas Manila.

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Gaming

Mobile Legends team of Salarium wins in charity clash

Mobile Legends team of Salarium emerged victorious in the ULeague: Charity Clash Tournament.

The Mobile Legends team of Salarium emerged victorious in Round 1 of the ULeague: Charity Clash Tournament that Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and its partners launched. This was for the benefit of charities with COVID-19 relief programs, including Caritas Manila.

Their team, also called SALARIUM, defeated the Noob Killers of Dragonpay in the Round 1 finals held on June 11. The organizers will hold the succeeding rounds in the coming weeks.

“We launched our own internal esports tournament early this year as an avenue to foster community and engagement in UnionBank through gaming,” UnionBank Senior Vice President and Head of the Fintech Group Arvie de Vera said in a press statement.

“With the Charity Clash Tournament, we want to build the same community through gaming in the fintech industry, and advocate our value of Ubuntu as we support organizations like Caritas Manila that continue to help out our kababayans during this time of need,” he said.

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Technology

Neobank tonik raises $21M Series A ahead of PH launch

tonik the first digital-only neobank in Southeast Asia.

The first neobank in Southeast Asia, Tonik Financial Pte Ltd (tonik), has just added US$21M to its war chest as it gets ready for its Philippine launch in Q3 2020. Sequoia India and Point72 Ventures led the US$21M round of Series A equity funding. Previous investors Insignia and Credence also had a significant participation. The neobank will use this round of funding to launch its Philippine operations.

“If the environment remains as it is, we should be launching in September-October. This funding is to provide us with runway for the first couple of years after launch,” tonik Founder and CEO Greg Krasnov told Digital Life Asia.

A neobank is a digital-only bank, meaning it operates purely online without traditional physical branch networks. In the past month since we last interviewed Krasnov, two Philippine banks have announced their plans to launch all-digital banks. What are Krasnov’s thoughts on these new developments?

“There is a major upswing in the demand for consumers all over the world for digital financial services. The more switched-on incumbent banks are seeking to capitalize on this demand. However, legacy banks are traditionally unable to innovate in the digital domain. They treat it as a channel for existing products rather than a product in and of itself. This means there is plenty of room for a player like us. We are a bank with the DNA of a tech company, and client interests at the foreground,” he said.

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Technology

RCBC all-digital bank also inclusion super app, says EVP

RCBC EVP and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer Lito Villanueva says exciting times are ahead with the upcoming launch of the RCBC all-digital bank.
RCBC EVP and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer Lito Villanueva says exciting times are ahead with the upcoming launch of the RCBC all-digital bank.

As Yuchengco-owned Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) ramps up its digital transformation, it will launch an all-digital bank that will drive financial inclusion in the Philippines.

“RCBC will be launching an all-digital bank and it will be sooner rather than later. The company is not afraid to look towards the future and accept that legacy banking may be a thing of the past. A peek into what we have ahead: this new product will not only be an all-digital bank but also an inclusion super app — with an array of services that is more than what is offered in the market today. Exciting times are coming,” Lito Villanueva, EVP and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer of RCBC, told Digital Life Asia.

Villanueva is concurrently the Chief Digital Transformation Advisor of the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC). He emphasized the important role that digital transformation plays in financial inclusion.

“I believe that digital transformation is the wrecking ball that will bring down real and perceived barriers to financial inclusion for Filipinos. For one, majority of Filipinos already own mobile phones and are connected online. If we could bring financial services to their electronic devices, then we do not only have one foot in the door but we will literally be inside their homes. Well, digital transformation is not just about technology or devices. It is about mindset, culture, and people,” Villanueva said.

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Technology

Trust in blockchain: No corruption, says Huobi exec

Ciara Sun, Head of Global Business and Markets of Huobi Group, says trust in blockchain is based on a trustless system.
Ciara Sun, Head of Global Business and Markets of Huobi Group, says trust in blockchain is based on a trustless system.

Why is blockchain so revolutionary and potentially a powerful force for good? Unlike traditional banking, blockchain technology is a trustless system. For example, banks need to ask us to trust them. When we deposit in banks, we trust that the bank will keep our money safe and not use it for unknown transactions. In contrast, trust in blockchain is part of the technology itself.

“Another important pillar that makes blockchain such a trustworthy technology is its transparency. Not only does the technology not ask for our trust, it allows for full disclosure, allowing everyone to know what is happening on the blockchain. There is no hiding on the blockchain, no corruption, and no sneaky tactics. And there is no way that things can slide by and go undetected,” said Ciara Sun, Head of Global Business and Markets of Huobi Group.

Singapore-based Huobi Group is one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges and a publicly listed Hong Kong company. Sun was one of the speakers at the Crypto Asia Summit, a free virtual summit that allows attendees to interact with more than 50 of the leading experts in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. Tokyo-based blockchain solutions company TEAMZ, Inc. launched this summit after COVID-19 forced them to cancel their annual TEAMZ Blockchain Summit. The world’s first blockchain and cryptocurrency online live event platform and social networkChainTalk TV, is hosting the summit as its first event.

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Technology

First digital-only bank in SEA bullish on PH launch

TONIK Founder and CEO Greg Krasnov believes the Philippines is ready to embrace a digital-only bank.
TONIK Founder and CEO Greg Krasnov believes the Philippines is ready to embrace a digital-only bank.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have pushed its Philippine launch to September this year, but Southeast Asia’s first digital-only bank TONIK is confident even more Filipinos will embrace its digital banking services.

What makes the Philippines an ideal market for a digital-only bank? Particularly one that describes itself as an “anti-bank”?

“A very young and digital native population, that’s screaming for good digital solutions. The average age of a Filipino is 24. The average time spent on Facebook is four hours per day–number one in the world. Banks are not offering anything close to the level of expectation that most consumers have of their digital banking. Also there is a very high unbanked population, around 70 percent in the Philippines. These customers are so intimidated of banks they never want to have to go into a bank branch in their lives. They are waiting for a good digital bank to show up, which will drive their financial inclusion,” TONIK Founder and CEO Greg Krasnov told Digital Life Asia.