Bull or Bear was an exciting side event of the Philippine Web 3 Festival that Bitskwela put on. This is said to be the first debate in the country about Web 3. It took place at the KMC Skydeck in BGC, Taguig, on November 16, 2022, at 6 p.m.
As the event’s first keynote speaker, Internet Protocol Manila’s Nelson Lumbres set the tone for the day. Lumbres said that 44.6% of young Filipinos have shown interest in learning about Web 3 and blockchain this year.
The main reason for this is that the industry offers attractive salaries, which for a junior developer can reach $120,000. Only this year, the number of blockchain developers in the country grew by 33%.
Lumbres then talked about Web 3, which experts around the world call the next version of the Internet. Web 3 features decentralization, blockchain, and economies based on tokens. This explanation says that Web3 is about owning a piece of the internet.
Lumbres summed up the main ideas behind blockchain in Web 3 as faster settlement, security, decentralization, consensus, and immutability.
Making Trends Your Friend
The second keynote speaker, ZFT Corporation CEO George Asibal, started an interactive conversation about market cycles. He asked the crowd about play-to-earn and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and who owns and has investments in “crypto.”
After that, he talked about how the digital asset industry is becoming more interesting as more people from different backgrounds join it. But he said that it has become harder to “filter out the noise” and figure out which trends are real, which ones you should bet your money on, and when you should HODL and when you should let go.
Asibal said that the main reason people lose money in crypto is that they don’t know enough about the industry, like the market trends and what kind of investors they are.
According to him, the market is easy to understand. It doesn’t care what you think, how you feel, or what your opinions are. What the market does is up to it.
“It’s our job to know how the market is moving and how it’s responding,” he said. “From there, we need to be in sync with the market,” he added.
He then showed a number of charts, which he used to help people learn how to tell if the market is going up or down.
“You should buy when you see the blue line, the 100 MA (moving averages), or the long-term trend go below prices.” “That’s when you buy and hold on to it,” Asibal said. He then added that the investors should keep HODLing while prices are going down and only sell when the 100 MA is above prices.
Asibal concluded his speech with a quick comment: “One thing is certain: crypto, Web3, it’s inevitable.” “Crypto is the future, and it’s here.”
Crypto and Web 3 Education
Darlene Torres, Bitskwela board member, and strategic advisor was the last keynote speaker of the night before the debate. She is in charge of the Router Protocol developer ecosystem’s growth in Asia and works closely with DMCC. She began her speech by recalling her childhood days at computer shops.
It is where most Filipino youths spend their leisure time playing strategic and multiplayer games such as Dota. She shared that this is also the place where she first learned about Bitcoin.
Torres said that most people in today’s generation get their information from the Internet. She also said that as NFT and P2E games become more popular, more kids are using them to learn. Because of this, Torres thinks the Philippine government should put more effort into improving education rather than focusing on regulations.
She said that Bitskwela is set up to be a leader in this area and that talking about education gets people moving.
“I can personally inform you that the biggest and most reputable investment funds in the world in blockchain are watching the Philippines because of Bitskwela,” she added.
She also talked about her 2021 speech at a conference in Abu Dhabi. In that speech, she told governments to stop seeing blockchain contributors as a threat and start seeing them as partners in solving modern problems.
Torres said that crypto and web 3 will help boost the country’s gross domestic product. She also added that the blockchain industry can help level the playing field for economies.
“The UAE was open to crypto at the time of COVID, and as a result, government entities such as the DMCC contributed close to 10% of Dubai’s GDP in the last two years alone.” “That’s growth,” she noted.
Torres sums up her speech by thanking the organizers and attendees of the event. She also revealed that they did not expect this 500% increase in registration requests for the Bull or Bear, emphasizing that the Philippines is ready for Web 3.
Bull or Bear Debate
Kenji Tate, a veteran debater from the University of Ateneo de Manila, is in charge of the debate part of the event.
Six leaders in their fields took part in the debate and shared some of their most passionate thoughts on the hottest Web 3 topics right now.
Jane Bilango, the blockchain space’s growth lead; Chris Tan, a vlogger and crypto investor; Patty Tiu from Thompson Collective Inc.; Paul Suliman, CEO of Hacktiv; Mark Nunez from GCrypto Partnerships; and Nelson Lumbres from Internet Computer Protocol Manila are among those leaders.
Debaters were given a flippable stand with the colors green and red. For each question, they will have 10 seconds to say whether they agree, disagree, or don’t know how to answer. Each person will have two minutes to talk about what they think.
The discussion, which had been going on for more than an hour, came to an end when it started to rain unexpectedly. The discussion had been about Bitcoin as a legal tender and privacy in the industry.
Question 1: Should Bitcoin be legal tender in the Philippines?
For Lumbres, Bitcoin makes peer-to-peer transactions easy. This is a huge change in the payments industry that will challenge GCash and Maya, so it needs to be used. But he said that the current situation in the industry was likely to slow down Bitcoin’s adoption, but that “it will happen soon” in the end.
Nunez, on the other hand, said he didn’t think Bitcoin would become a legal currency because of how unstable it is. He also added that the Philippines doesn’t have the infrastructure to make it happen.
Soliman agreed with Lumbres and Nunez that the Philippines is slowly recognizing the value of Bitcoin. However, for him now is not the right time to use it as currency in the country. Instead, he said that the government should first make rules about how to tax digital assets.
Tiu is optimistic about the situation, but she agrees with Soliman that now is not the right time. She also says that the public needs to understand the risks of digital currencies before investing in them.
Tan, a vlogger, said he has always been in favor of making Bitcoin a legal currency. However, just like four early debaters, he said that Bitcoin’s volatility right now makes it hard for people to understand what its real value is. He also said that Bitcoin is more like digital gold than money.
“I don’t look at it as something I want to spend. I like to hold my Bitcoin, and I like to hold it for a very long time,” he said, adding that the only time he can see Bitcoin as legal tender is when it has grown up and its volatility has gone down.
Bilango ended the first round of debate by saying that the language being used in the space had made it clear what the difference was between the blockchain and Bitcoin. She said that BTC or any other digital currency shouldn’t be legal tender in the Philippines because there isn’t enough stability in the ecosystem, which the government relies on a lot to keep the economy going. She insisted, though, that she was optimistic about the technology itself, especially blockchain.
In response, Tan again acknowledged that Bitcoin is volatile and was quick to point out that governments are also making it more volatile by messing with a fiscal and monetary system they don’t understand.
“Bitcoin is the most pure form of money that belongs to the person, not the government,” he insisted.
Question 2: Should private and sensitive information be stored on NFTs as IDs in the Philippines?
Nunez answered that NFTs will be useful for the healthcare and travel industries. He said that it will be a big help to foreigners who don’t have records in other countries.
But Lumbres thinks that the answer to the question depends on the public. It will depend on how comfortable they are with sharing personal information with others. Despite the fact that most people don’t agree with NFTs, he said they could still be used as long as they only kept information that users permitted.
Tiu agreed with Lumbres that the only information a person should share publicly is the information that person chooses to share. She also talked about how NFTs as IDs could help with the complicated paperwork in government agencies, like getting a clearance from the NBI and getting SSS benefits.
Soliman, on the other hand, had mixed feelings about the matter. He said that some information, like phone numbers, shouldn’t be out in the open.
Soliman said, “In the end, it will be a public or private chain.”
Moreover, Tan imagined a future in which every child born would have an NFT where all of their information would be stored until they were older. Tan liked the idea, but he said that using NFTs as IDs could put users at risk. In the case of the Philippines, he said that this technology couldn’t be used because the government couldn’t be trusted.
Bilango answered Tan’s statement with a question: “What stops the government from doing it now, since they all have information on every Filipino in their database?”
Bilango said she is “very bullish” about this because blockchain can’t be changed and it’s easy to check transactions. However, she agreed with Soliman that there should be both a public and a private chain.
READ about the other events and highlights of the Philippine Web 3 Festival here.