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Finance Blog

Using Bitcoin to Feed Families

Anthony McCloskey

Remittances from the developed world to the developing world are expected to exceed $500 billion this year, which is a massive sum of money. Countries like the Philippines and Guam for example, depend a lot on these remittances. Individuals from these countries often leave to somewhere like Qatar in order to work as either as domestic help, or maybe help build the stadiums for the next World Cup, or even work as farmhands. They then send money to support their families back to their home countries. Doing so via traditional means (e.g. Western Union) can cost 5-10% of the amount that you're sending. So that's like a 10% tax on their earnings and less money for their families.

The Philippines however, is a country that has high internet penetration, high mobile phone use, and therefore could potentially benefit from the use of bitcoin. And today we are seeing many startups entering that market to help people in the Middle East from the Philippines send money back home for about 1% of the amount of that they're sending, which is an enormous savings to them and more money for their families.

In the developed world, you'd have to ask yourself: why would I use bitcoin when I've got access to credit cards? Credit cards allow me to make electronic payments, in fact sometimes it even pays me to make those electronic payments. But in most of the developing world, there is limited, or no access to credit cards, or even banks for that matter. But with bitcoin, as long as you have access to a cheap smart phone and internet service, you've got access to electronic payments, you've got access to a way to store your value. Additionally, at least for now, you also have a way to adequately protect that store of value from the prying eyes and greedy hands of the government. That's something everyone can benefit from!