Boracay Island is a small island in the central Philippines with an area of just 10.32 km², but the tropical island is hailed as the most famous beach destination in the country. Recently, the resort town located in Malay town, Aklan province, has been making the rounds in the Crypto community for being developed as a Bitcoin-Haven. The effort is spearheaded by Pouch—a next-gen Philippine Peso eWallet, using bitcoin’s Lightning Network for borderless payments.
Since mid-2022, Pouch has been engaged in sponsoring bitcoin education on the island, and has since signed more than 130 merchants and stores spread across the island. The locals are happy because not only is accepting Bitcoin via the lighting network hassle-free, but the initiative is gaining a lot of positive attention from mainstream media houses, which’ll greatly benefit the island’s overall tourism statistics.
Located some 300 km south of Manila, the now Bitcoin Island is known for its relaxing white beaches, Bat caves, Oceanarium, Kayaking, Ziplining, great snorkelling spots, and a whole lot of adventurous activities.
Boracay Island welcomed over 800k foreign tourists and 900k domestic tourists in 2019, generating over $850 million USD in tourism income and becoming one of the Philippines’ top tourist destinations. This year also, in the month of March, more than 150K tourists flocked to Boracay for an amazing vacation during the summer season.
During Startup Pitchday (Bitcoin Lightning) at Bitcoin Conference 2022, Pouch CEO and Founder Ethan Rose talked about how, to help out a friend from the Philippines, he went online and tried to make a transfer through a remittance company, but his account got locked. He then has to undergo a manual review process to clear this from his end.
On the Philippine side, it is very common for the recipient to then go to a pawn shop, which works as a remittance center, bring the reference ID and fill out a form, and the whole process takes quite a bit of time. And seeing the negative aspects of the process encouraged him to create a Lightning wallet for the Philippines.
Currently, Pouch Lightning is integrated as a payment option for thousands of merchants. And considering that, with 37 billion, the Philippines is the fourth largest remittance market, only behind India, Mexico, and China, the need and growth opportunity for Pouch services is unbounded.
Pouch has revealed that as of September 2022, over 130 locations in the Island is accepting Bitcoin, including 40+ Coffee/Café and Bars, 10+ retail shops, local service businesses, grocery & convenience shops, Meat & Produce shops, Landmarks and transport spots.