K Venture Group, or KVG, the investment arm of Kakao Corporation, announced on June 9 that it has become the largest shareholder of Philippine-based bitcoin-related fintech startup Satoshi Citadel Industries, or SCI (CEO John Bailon), by acquiring its 40 percent stake. It is KVG’s first investment overseas since its founding.
Money sent home by overseas Filipino workers reached 27 trillion won (US$23.29 billion) as of 2015, making the Philippines the world’s third largest recipient of remittances. Since there are many interested parties in the whole process of remittance, they face a heavy cost burden due to high currency exchange, brokerage and receipt fees. Wire transaction usually takes two to three business days but sometimes it can take maximum of seven days.
SCI seeks to improve the inefficiency of remittance services and lower charges by using bitcoin. The company’s Rebit is a bitcoin-based remittance service which allows users to send money quickly, inexpensively and easily. Users, who don’t have bitcoin, can still wire money in the form of bitcoin without purchasing it when they provide the amount of remittance and remittee information to its partner companies in six countries in where Rebit is currently available including the Philippines, Canada and Korea.
In addition, SCI offers various financial services, such as prepaid payment card, mobile payment and mobile wallet services. Using its self-developed financial platforms, the company aims to produce innovation in Southeast Asian countries as well as the Philippine which has the bank account opening rates of 31 percent and credit card penetration rates of 3 percent.