Universal bitcoin company Satoshi Citadel Industries’ Rebit.ph has partnered with California-based global transaction network and money transfer platform ZipZap to enable Filipino expat workers in Canada to send money back to the Philippines using the ZipZap payment application.
Filipino workers spend around USD$2 billion in transaction and conversion fees when sending money back to their families. The remittance services and outlets such as Western Union and Lhuiller (Filipino Local Remittance Service) can be extremely expensive and inefficient, as it requires 5 percent to 12 percent of the entire transaction to be paid as “service fees.”
Satoshi Citadel Industries and its subsidiary company Rebit.ph aims to break this barrier of the Filipino and Canadian remittance markets to enable Filipino expat workers to send and transfer payments with ease. The company is seeking to get a significant share of the Philippines-to-Canada remittance market and process as many remittance payments as possible using Bitcoin technology.
Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Satoshi Citadel Industries CEO John Bailon explained:
“We’re aiming high. We want to capture as much as we can, and although this seems farfetched, I truly believe that with the current existing technologies, i.e. ubiquitous smartphones and the Bitcoin technology, this is now achievable. The timing is right, and with partners like ZipZap, building the open remittance network on top of the blockchain is now a reality. Cost of remittances is a huge pain point (USD 2B huge) for a lot of my fellow countrymen, and that is what ultimately motivates us to bring a faster and cheaper service to market.”
The process of sending remittance or, as the company calls it, a “rebittance,” via rebit.ph is simple. Users can use the ZipZap application which acts as an on-ramp interface for remitters.
Then, the users “are asked how much they want to send in Candadian dollars, plus the corresponding recipient details, and as soon as they hit “send,” the transaction goes through the Bitcoin network.
“In a matter of minutes, we process the transaction at Rebit and cash in PHP is made available for the recipient through whatever payout method the remitter nominated,” Bailon said. “For both remitter and receiver, the bitcoin part is invisible, they don’t have to know how the funds were sent accross the network, what they know is that it’s a more convenient and cheaper way to send money back home.
“Because we use Bitcoin at Rebit, we’re open to receive transactions from any individual or company, effectively an open network for remittances,” explained Bailon.
Ultimately, Satoshi Citadel Industries intends to expand its services and “target the top 10 locations where there is significant Filipino migrant worker population,” including UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Today, residents of Australia, Canada, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan and many other Asian countries can transfer and send money using bitcoin to remittance outlets and banks in the Philippines. Through partnerships with local banks and financial institutions, Rebit.ph has made it extremely easy for Filipino expat workers to send payments, and Filipino residents to receive transactions at remittance outlets, which are available across the country.
“By partnering with companies such as ZipZap, we’ve made sending remittances to the Philippines via Bitcoin easy, cheaper and faster compared to traditional methods.. It’s like Western Union, except it’s open to for anyone to participate in. We jokingly call this network the Eastern Union,” added Bailon.
Joseph is a web developer and designer, writer and a passionate musician who loves to travel. He has worked as a researcher for a number of venture capital firms and as a freelancer designer for resorts and corporations in Korea and the Philippines.