Seeking to capture a slice of the $2-billion Canada-to-Philippines remittance market, Philippine rebittance service Rebit.ph has partnered with California-based global transaction network and mobile money transfer app ZipZap.
The partnership will allow Filipinos in Canada to use the ZipZap mobile app, connect it to their bank account, and send money back to the Philippines using their smartphones without having to know anything about Bitcoin as a transfer mechanism. Rebit is the flagship service of financial technology (fintech) startup Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), the largest bitcoin service provider in the Philippines.
Rebittance is Rebit’s own term for remittances powered by the digital currency Bitcoin. It describes the core process that Rebit uses to make money transfers cheap by accepting Bitcoin from the sender and then delivering Philippine peso to recipient.
Both companies will use Bitcoin blockchain technology that provides a shared public ledger made through a tamper-proof data structure.
“We’re excited and proud to be working with the ZipZap team. We believe this partnership is a perfect example of how blockchain technology can be used beneficially without any risks to the end user, who in this case are our fellow Filipinos in Canada. ZipZap provides a great service that we believe will greatly benefit our service and vice-versa,” said SCI’s chief executive officer John Bailon.
The ZipZap mobile app will be leveraging on Rebit’s expertise on Bitcoin-powered remittances which is expected to enable OFWs to save time, effort, and also a significant amount in fees as compared to traditional money transfer services.
ZipZap raised $2.2 million in venture capital funding in 2014 from the likes of Angelist, 500 Startups and Blockchain Capital that saw the startup’s potential to bring significant innovations to the remittance industry via its simple, cost-efficient remittance app.
ZipZap is headed by CEO Alan Safahi, a serial entrepreneur with nearly 30 years of hands-on experience in the information technology, telecommunications and financial services industries.
OFWs through their remittances continue to be major contributors to the Philippines’ GDP rate, averaging over $12 billion yearly. But since 70 million Filipinos are still unbanked, only $2.2 billion of the $13.4 billion personal OFW remittances in the first quarter of 2015 were coursed through banks. The latest remittance figure is 5.3 per cent higher compared to the same period last year.