Bitcoin Remittances for OFWs - What You Need To Know
<p>Life abroad is too hectic for Overseas Filipino Workers (<span id="error_1" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">OFWs</span>) to quickly send their hard-earned money to their loved ones back home. If you&#8217;re <span id="error_2" class="hiddenGrammarError grammar_Wrong_article checking_error" data-type-class="grammar_Wrong_article">an OFW</span> yourself, you may feel held back by the high transaction fees that banks and money transfers charge. So you sought more affordable and convenient means of sending remittances to your family.</p> <p>The Philippines has seen a rise in various remittance services in recent years, such as banks and money transfer exchange providers. You&#8217;ve probably have sent thousands of pesos to money transfers like Western Union, Palawan <span id="error_4" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Pawnshop</span> or <span id="error_5" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Cebuana</span> <span id="error_6" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Lhuillier</span>. Or if dropping by money exchange agents aren&#8217;t your thing, you use PayPal for most of your online transactions (and force your family to get Internet-based deposit accounts, like <span id="error_7" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Unionbank</span> EON, for these money transfers). Or you prefer cash transfers via online transactions using your mobile phone (<span id="error_8" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">MoneyGram</span> or Smart <span id="error_9" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Padala</span>, anyone?).</p> <p>While there is a myriad of ways on how you can send money, these financial services are by no means foolproof and reliable. And the transaction fees aren&#8217;t cheap. In fact, experts warn that <a href="http://gulfnews.com/business/money/don-t-get-ripped-off-when-sending-money-home-from-uae-1.1221348" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hidden back-end fees can eat into remittances costing up to 40 percent of the transaction charge</a>! That&#8217;s a lot!</p> <p>So what&#8217;s your zero-charge per transaction remittance option?</p> <p>Enter&nbsp;<span id="error_10" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">BITCOIN</span>.</p> <h2>What is a <span id="error_11" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span>, anyway?</h2> <p><span id="error_12" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Bitcoin</span> is a digital currency that came into circulation in 2009. An anonymous computer scientist, or a group of computer scientists, under the pseudonym <span id="error_13" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Satoshi</span> <span id="error_14" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Nakamoto</span>, created&nbsp;<span id="error_15" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span>. It works by delivering money transactions to the recipient without the need for a middle man (no banks required, yeah!).</p> <p>At the heart of <span id="error_16" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Bitcoin&#8217;s</span> DNA lies the blockchain &#8211; an online, distributed, and shared ledger &#8211; that securely records all of your transactions. The blockchain uses high-grade cryptography to <span id="error_17" class="hiddenSuggestion suggestion_Complex_Expression checking_error" data-type-class="suggestion_Complex_Expression">ensure</span> integrity in calculating your <span id="error_18" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">spendable</span> balance and verifying your latest transactions.</p> <p>Plus, <span id="error_19" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span>&nbsp;allow to be stored in&nbsp;a &#8220;digital wallet&#8221;. The digital wallet serves as a virtual bank account where you can send or receive <span id="error_20" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span>, buy goods and services, and store them.</p> <p><strong>Note</strong>: It may sound incredulous, but <span id="error_21" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span>&nbsp;are not physical monetary objects! Instead of a &#8220;coin,&#8221; records of <span id="error_22" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> transactions course through between your address and recipient&#8217;s address. The blockchain stores your every transaction.</p> <h3>What does <span id="error_23" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> have to do with <span id="error_3" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">OFW</span> remittances?</h3> <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large"><a href="https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/bitcoin-tweet.jpg"><img loading="lazy" width="572" height="572" src="https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/bitcoin-tweet-1.jpg" alt="Bitcoin Remittances for OFWs - What You Need To Know" class="wp-image-9426" srcset="https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/bitcoin-tweet-1.jpg 572w, https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/bitcoin-tweet-1-300x300.jpg 300w, https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/bitcoin-tweet-1-150x150.jpg 150w" sizes="(max-width: 572px) 100vw, 572px" /></a><figcaption>OFWs are now looking into bitcoins to send their remittances.</figcaption></figure></div> <p>Everything, actually. <span id="error_25" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">OFWs</span> &#8211; tired of working long hours but need to remit funds fast (due to a family emergency or something) &#8211; can take advantage of <span id="error_26" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span>. You can send in remittances from Saudi Arabia to a province in the Philippines just like sending cash digitally.</p> <p><a href="https://www.techinasia.com/coins-ph-bitcoin-atm-withdrawal" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span id="error_27" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">OFWs</span> send about US$24 billion in remittances each year</a> and pay expensive transaction fees. <span id="error_28" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Bitcoin</span> remittances eliminate these fees (via digital wallet) or significantly reduces them (through <span id="error_29" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Bitcoin</span> remittance exchange providers).</p> <p>In the Middle East alone, <span id="error_30" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> exchanges are already common. You just need to convert your take home pay to <span id="error_31" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> and then send to your digital wallet.</p> <p>After you have sent and delivered your <span id="error_32" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> remittance, it takes only minutes to process and verify the transactions as opposed to waiting for days on end. Your recipient will be quickly notified that the money is now available for pickup.</p> <p>Some <span id="error_33" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">OFWs</span> may act reluctant to use <span id="error_34" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span>, but we are getting there.</p> <p>According to Ron Hose, CEO of Coins.ph, &#8220;<span id="error_35" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Bitcoin</span> is very early technology, and it&#8217;s going to take time for it to gain trust and mainstream adoption. We know we are mostly working with early adopters, but the pain point is real, and so there is a lot of <span id="error_36" class="hiddenSuggestion suggestion_Cliches checking_error" data-type-class="suggestion_Cliches">motivation</span> for people to experiment (<a href="http://globalnation.inquirer.net/107661/why-bitcoin-works-for-remittances-a-qa-with-coins-ph-ron-hose" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">INQUIRER.net US Bureau, 2014</a>).&#8221;</p> <h4>Where to start?</h4> <p>You can get <span id="error_37" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span> in three ways:</p> <ol><li>Buy from a <span id="error_38" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> provider (ex. Coins.ph, Coinage.ph)</li><li>Exchange them in the local currency online</li><li>Sell goods and services using <span id="error_39" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span></li></ol> <p>You&#8217;ll be more likely to choose option 1 and 2.</p> <p>As long as you have internet connection, you can <span id="error_40" class="hiddenSuggestion suggestion_Complex_Expression checking_error" data-type-class="suggestion_Complex_Expression">forward</span> <span id="error_41" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span> to your recipient using mobile apps or computer (like sending cash online).</p> <p>Here are the top 3 local startups that convert <span id="error_42" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> exchanges into cold cash.</p> <p><a href="https://coins.ph/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Coins.ph</a></p> <p>Coins.ph is tagged as the <a href="http://investingengineer.com/coins-ph-review/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">best <span id="error_43" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> service in the Philippines</a>. It partners with banks and local money transfer providers, including ML <span id="error_44" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">ePAY</span>, <span id="error_45" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Cebuana</span> <span id="error_46" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Lhuillier</span>, <span id="error_47" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">ecPAY</span>, and 7-Eleven. In fact, you can <a href="http://support.coins.ph/hc/en-us/articles/215098258-How-to-instantly-cash-in-via-7-Eleven-Philippines" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">instantly cash in <span id="error_48" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> remittances using <span id="error_49" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">7-Eleven&#8217;s</span> <span id="error_50" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">coinsXpress</span></a>. You can also look into <a href="https://coins.ph/atm-cash-pickup" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Coins.ph&#8217;s new service</a>, which turns <span id="error_51" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">ATMs</span> into <span id="error_52" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Bitcoin</span> cash terminals.</p> <p><a href="https://www.rebit.ph/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Rebit.ph</a></p> <p>Use Rebit.ph to convert and send <span id="error_53" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span> directly into your recipient&#8217;s bank account. It allows direct cash pickup from <span id="error_54" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Cebuana</span> <span id="error_55" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Lhuillier</span>, Palawan Express, and <span id="error_56" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">LBC</span>.</p> <p><a href="https://coinage.ph/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Coinage.ph</a></p> <p>Coinage.ph is a secure order book <span id="error_57" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> exchange platform that also allows you to <span id="error_58" class="hiddenSuggestion suggestion_Complex_Expression checking_error" data-type-class="suggestion_Complex_Expression">purchase</span>, sell, and convert <span id="error_59" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span> into Philippine peso and vice versa.</p> <p>Since the holiday season is around the corner, you&#8217;re probably already researching ways on how to send money to your loved ones in a fast, easy, and economical way.</p> <p>And <span id="error_60" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoin</span> is the answer.</p> <p>Just to give you a visual comparison:</p> <div class="wp-block-image"><figure class="aligncenter size-large"><a href="https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/western-union-vs-bitcoin.jpg"><img loading="lazy" width="736" height="379" src="https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/western-union-vs-bitcoin-1.jpg" alt="Bitcoin Remittances for OFWs - What You Need To Know" class="wp-image-9427" srcset="https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/western-union-vs-bitcoin-1.jpg 736w, https://production-prod-trueprofile-blogassets-origin.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/2016/11/western-union-vs-bitcoin-1-300x154.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 736px) 100vw, 736px" /></a><figcaption>Western Union vs. Bitcoin: A comparison</figcaption></figure></div> <p>In a nutshell, remittance has often been a serious problem for <span id="error_61" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">OFWs</span>. <span id="error_62" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">Bitcoins</span> make it simpler to <span id="error_63" class="hiddenSuggestion suggestion_Complex_Expression checking_error" data-type-class="suggestion_Complex_Expression">transmit</span> money to your loved ones that are devoid of hefty transaction fees. Thanks to its flexibility and affordability, <span id="error_64" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">OFWs</span>, local recipients, and merchants alike grew to adopt its usage.</p> <p>That&#8217;s it! Easy <span id="error_66" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">peasy</span>. Your <span id="error_24" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">OFW</span> remittances are only <span id="error_68" class="hiddenSpellError spelling_Spelling checking_error" data-type-class="spelling_Spelling">bitcoins</span> away.</p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit:</span></em></p> <p><em>The Bitcoin Society via Pinterest: pinterest.com/pin/297589487852039889/</em><br><em> Screenshot [Twitter: @maren_Lesche]</em></p> <p><em>CC0 Public Domain</em><br><em> Free for commercial use</em><br><em> No attribution required</em><br><em> pixabay.com/en/bitcoin-coin-money-electronic-money-495995/</em></p>