ConsenSys Ventures Backs Philippine Crypto Trading Startup PDAXby Tom Noda March 8, 2019
Crypto-exchange platform Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) has raised an undisclosed amount of investment made by ConsenSys Ventures, the venture capital arm of US-based blockchain software firm ConsenSys.
Founded in 2017 by Nichel Gaba, Krystian Kucharzyk, and Yang Yang Zhang, PDAX is a centralized trading platform that offers Filipinos an order book on which to trade digital assets in an open market for the first time. It is regulated by both the central bank (BSP) and securities regulator (SEC) in the Philippines.
PDAX claims it will make ownership of digital assets in the Philippines more accessible because users can cash in and out of their PDAX accounts through major banks and payment centers — more than 40,000 outlets — all over the Philippines. These include Union Bank, PNB, PayMaya, 7-Eleven, Cebuana and M Lhuillier pawnshops, among others. The platform will launch in Q2.
ConsenSys Ventures revealed there is a high volume (US$3 billion per month, US$34 billion in 2018) of inbound remittances flowing into the Philippines, of which a steadily increasing percentage is being coursed through cryptocurrencies.
“Despite the significant benefits they can provide to the time and cost associated with remittances, cryptocurrency-powered channels are limited by the lack of a liquid off-ramp for conversion of crypto to PHP,” the VC firm said in a statement. “By ensuring depth in our order-books through innovative liquidity solutions, PDAX hopes to dramatically reduce frictional cost of remittances, allowing Filipino families to retain more of their hard-earned money than ever before.”
Zhang, who also serves as CSO at PDAX, said their company not only hopes to enable lower cost and facilitate faster processing for remittance and other P2P payments, but likewise seeks to address long-standing inefficiencies in the Philippine financial markets.
“The complete lack or inaccessibility of open markets for asset classes other than equities has hindered the inflow of capital—leading to underutilization of the country’s enormous growth potential—and limited many Filipinos’ exposure to various investment products. Through the issuance of previously inaccessible traditional financial instruments on the blockchain, we plan to rebuild the Philippine financial markets by establishing a secondary market empowering all Filipinos, not just those with bank accounts or significant disposable income, to invest,” Zhang said.
ConsenSys Ventures profiled itself as an investor in pre-seed and seed stage Ethereum projects across the Web 3.0 stack. Sector and geography agnostic, ConsenSys Ventures is building a portfolio of companies that support each other, as well as the ConsenSys and the broader blockchain ecosystem.
The deal was made simultaneously with the venture capital firm’s $1.15 million investment in another early-stage blockchain company Ligero based in Rochester, New York. Ligero is touted as “the first lightweight, scalable protocol for secure multi-party computation (MPC) and zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP).”