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Technology

Fasset taps Ethereum to boost sustainable infrastructure

Fasset Founder and CEO Mohammad Raafi Hossain says they want to create a blockchain-based ecosystem for the efficient financing of sustainable infrastructure.
Fasset Founder and CEO Mohammad Raafi Hossain says they want to create a blockchain-based ecosystem for the efficient financing of sustainable infrastructure.

UK-headquartered fintech company Fasset has launched the world’s first comprehensive operating system dedicated to the ethical financing of sustainable infrastructure on the Ethereum blockchain.

Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Fasset hopes to expedite the construction of sustainable infrastructure while providing safe, secure, and yielding investments to a broader investor base. This is in response to increasingly pronounced climate degradation and a clear lack of capital entering the sustainable infrastructure sector — estimated by the World Economic Forum to be moving towards a US$15 trillion deficit by 2040. 

“With climate change expected to cost the world economy US$7.9 trillion by 2050, impacting lives and communities, the need for sustainable infrastructure has never been more urgent. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed the global economy at a standstill with massive job losses and markets tumbling around the world. The most direct and effective way to accelerate the production of large-scale sustainable infrastructure projects — and, in turn, create sustainable jobs for the global economy — is through hard asset tokenization and the democratizing access to these investments. We believe that there is, today, an unprecedented opportunity to equalize the global economy while creating sustainable jobs and fighting climate change — and the time to seize it is now,” said Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Fasset Founder and CEO and former Technology Advisor to the United Arab Emirates Prime Minister’s Office, in a press statement.

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A Life Less Analog Technology

Impact Hackathon: Why the geeks shall inherit the earth

Technology column header

The COVID-19 pandemic is the asteroid that will finally make the dinosaurs extinct. And by dinosaurs I mean individuals and companies who still refuse to embrace digital. I truly believe this. Which is why I’m happy that Impact Hub Manila (IHM) is bringing back Impact Hackathon to create genuine change in society. This year’s Impact Hackathon will be held virtually on Aug. 17-21. It aims to reboot the economy through inclusive digital innovations in five verticals. These include climate change, education, food and agriculture, health and wellness, and smart cities.

Only those who are still in denial think that things will “go back to normal”. The COVID-19 pandemic is the end of the world as we know it. It is a turning point in human history that has accelerated digital transformation. So don’t listen to the dinosaurs. Don’t listen to the defenders of the status quo who want to go back to doing the same things. Instead of using this disruption as an opportunity to build a better post-pandemic world. Not just the new normal, but a better normal.

“I am very optimistic and I truly believe that technology is the great enabler. It has completely democratized a lot of things that we’re doing,” IHM Founder and CEO Ces Rondario said in response to a question from Digital Life Asia in the press briefing.

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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).

“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.

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Gaming Technology

Digix, Axie Infinity partner for real gold in-game currency

Digix, creator of the world’s first asset-backed digital gold token, today announced it has partnered with Vietnam-based Axie Infinity.

Want to earn real gold by playing a video game? In an industry first, real gold rewards will be offered as an in-game currency. Singapore’s Digix, creator of the world’s first asset-backed digital gold token, today announced it has partnered with Vietnam-based Axie Infinity, a game built on Ethereum that enables players to collect, raise, and battle fantasy creatures.

Axie Infinity players will now receive in-game tokens that are backed and redeemable for physical, investment-grade gold. These Axie-DGX tokens can be exchanged for Digix’s native token, DGX — where 1 DGX is equivalent to 100,000 Axie-DGX.

“This collaboration with Axie Infinity is not only a major milestone for Digix — but for the growth of digital gold, highlighting its benefits across a range of industries including gaming. By providing an in-game currency that is backed by gold, a time-tested, safe haven asset — we are remaining true to our vision of democratizing access to gold and further showcasing the innovative use cases for digital gold,” Digix COO and Co-Founder Shaun Djie said in a press statement.

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Technology

Digital gold: Digix democratizes access to gold

Digix COO and Co-Founder Shaun Djie says the future is bright for digital gold.
Digix COO and Co-founder Shaun Djie says the future is bright for digital gold.

In an interesting twist, blockchain technology is now democratizing access to one of the oldest standards of wealth: gold. Singapore-based Digix is betting the future on increased adoption of digital gold, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Digix is the company behind the world’s first digital gold token, DGX, with 1 DGX equal to one gram of gold. The company’s vaults in Singapore and Canada are accredited members of the Bullion Association and are fully insured. Moreover, every gold bar backing DGX is always openly verifiable by the public at all times, thanks to blockchain technology.

“Throughout the years, gold has maintained its value and built its reputation as a ‘recession-proof’ asset class that is largely uncorrelated with traditional market movements and economic fluctuations. This is due to the fact that currency devaluations will never apply to physical commodities like gold — as it cannot be printed like money and its value is not impacted by a government’s decision to change interest rates or to increase the circulation of a particular currency.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a number of major hedge funds announce that they are betting on gold on expectations that central banks’ unprecedented economic stimulus packages during the coronavirus crisis will result in devaluations in major currencies — further highlighting gold’s position as a reliable asset in times of uncertainty,” Digix COO and Co-founder Shaun Djie told Digital Life Asia.

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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

eSportStars: Compete in esports, get cryptocurrency

A new platform called eSportStars is now open for pre-registration. Image credit: Kartz Media Works
Image credit: Kartz Media Works

Are you an esports athlete or fan? A new platform called eSportStars is now open for pre-registration. eSportStars aims to promote esports to a bigger audience by providing the chance to earn money through competitions and a cryptocurrency reward service.

eSportStars is a new service from TimeTicket GmbH, a wholly-owned Swiss subsidiary of Japan’s TimeTicket Inc. The platform is open to everyone, including professional esports players, fans, and players aiming to become professionals around the world.

Not only that, but also users will be rewarded with cryptocurrency for their competition results. That’s because this esports platform runs on TimeCoinProtocol, a blockchain and cryptocurrency project that TimeTicket GmbH is working on. The project is planning to issue a cryptocurrency called TimeCoin.

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Technology

Bityard: Asian market for digital currencies ‘unimaginable’

Bityard Director Rafael Zhou says the Singapore-based cryptocurrency contracts exchange believes in 'complex contracts, simple transactions'.
Bityard Director Rafael Zhou says the Singapore-based cryptocurrency contracts exchange believes in ‘complex contracts, simple transactions’.

Sure, the world has a lot of cryptocurrency companies nowadays. But how many of them have a multiple-time Muay Thai world champion as their global brand ambassador? That’s one thing that makes Singapore-based cryptocurrency contracts exchange Bityard stand out.

“The characteristic of Muay Thai itself is a martial art that pays great attention to practice, focus, and speed. Just like our platform, Bityard. We focus on accuracy and practicality in doing trading. That’s why we chose Muay Thai kickboxer Buakaw as our global brand ambassador,” Bityard Director Rafael Zhou told Digital Life Asia.

Moreover, just as the legendary Buakaw (real name Sombat Banchamek) conquered the martial arts world, so too is Asia leading the way in digital currencies.

“The complex and changing international situation has also accelerated the use of digital currencies. We see that more and more countries’ digital currency markets are developing rapidly, including Vietnam and Indonesia. In other Asian countries, such as Japan and South Korea, the government is already thinking about how to promote laws to regulate and protect the rights of digital currency holders. In China, the government even issued legal digital currency. The scale of the Asian market for digital currencies will be unimaginable,” Zhou said.

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Technology

Lifelong learning now a requirement, says Apptitude CEO

In the digital age, lifelong learning is necessary if you don't want to become obsolete, according to Apptitude CEO Mars Veloso.
In the digital age, lifelong learning is necessary if you don’t want to become obsolete, according to Apptitude CEO Mars Veloso.

We know it is important to equip students with the right skills. But education should not end after graduation. Now, more than ever, every worker should embrace lifelong learning.

“I think that continuing education, or more generally lifelong learning, is no longer optional. It’s a requirement to keep up with quickly changing environments and regulations,” lawyer Mars Veloso, CEO of learning management platform Apptitude, told Digital Life Asia.

“Being a bank teller today might seem like a stable job. But as UnionBank has clearly shown, these jobs can be replaced by machines in the span of a year. The BPO industry is under threat by chatbots. There have been promising AI developments in the medical fields. As an example, radiology may be quickly eclipsed in the coming years with better pattern detections.With this digital milieu, the only option to those potentially affected by the shifting tides is a new perspective on education. One geared towards optionality rather than job security.”

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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.