BeamAndGo Part 2 : Product Review

As a follow up on my previous post, which provided a snapshot of OFW-centered start-up, BeamAndGo, a more in-depth review of its platform is in order. Recall that BeamAndGo focuses on cashless remittance. Through collaboration with local stores and service providers, OFW’s are given another option to support their loved ones at home.

Instead of the traditional pera padala, BeamAndGo utilizes digital gift certificates which enable the recipient to directly acquire the targeted goods/services without the hassle of visiting a remittance center. Aside from being a faster and easier mode of transaction for both sender and recipient, this method also eliminates the prospect of financial mismanagement, which has been a constant issue concerning households and families.

Now, let’s delve into the specifics.

BeamAndGo offers a neat and straightforward user-interface for its website and corresponding mobile app. The current balance is instantly viewable from the homepage, together with the hamburger menu which acts as a portal to all possible transactions as well as the customization of user settings. The list of available products is likewise readily accessible, thus, enabling quicker purchases. Surprisingly, the sign-up process takes only seconds to complete given the option to simply hook up your existing Facebook account.

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Friendly and straightforward UI

“Topping-up” your balance is relatively easy, with the LoadAndGo prepaid card. I once again appreciated, the simplicity and ease in which I was able to top-up P1000 worth of credit by merely scratching the silver film and inputting the revealed 12-character PIN into the LoadAndGo section of the site. With my balance now “topped-up”, I proceeded with my first transaction.

Top-up your balance in 3 Steps
Top-up your balance in 3 Steps

Heading on to the list of available purchases, my first impulse was to buy either Globe or Smart e-load. Unfortunately, they were not yet available at the time, together with Meralco, PLDT, SSS and PhilHealth. I decided to be of help to my household and availed myself of a SUPER 8 digital gift certificate, worth P1000. The checkout process can be compared to that of Lazada’s and Amazon’s: plain, quick, and enjoyable. All I had to do now, was wait for the SMS confirmation, which would also serve as the digital gift certificate itself.

As with its top-up load and checkout process, the SMS didn’t disappoint. I received a message on my phone a few minutes later, informing me that I can now use my digital GC at any of SUPER 8’s branches. (Take note that a valid I.D is required for the digital GC to be accommodated. In my case, a school I.D. did the trick.)

SUPER 8 readily acknowledged the digital GC, which absolutely stunned me. Compared to previous experiences, stores participating in partnerships were less than accommodating when it came to the customer presenting anything other than cash or credit card. I could only assume that BeamAndGo maintains an exceptional relationship with its partners. The only setback however was the lack of pre-printed slips necessary to complete the use of the digital GC. This made the pay-out process considerably slower, without which, would have been a near-perfect experience.

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Yours truly, with the purchased goods using the digital GC.

Once again, it is the vision and the mission of this company that pushes it forward, and with it, our beloved OFW’s. There is nothing nobler than genuinely trying to help our fellow men, whether it be through something as simple as a pat on the back, or through the unbelievable heights that technology could attain just to bridge the miles that keep families apart.  BeamAndGo is just another part of that bridge.

 

 

 


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21 Bitcoin Computer: A Step Further towards Bitcoin Integration

The 21 Bitcoin Computer’s primary objective is to make bitcoin a standard feature of all web services, seeking to put a “bitcoin” button right next to PayPal and credit card options. As the first platform to offer both hardware and software support for Bitcoin, it has been an eye-candy for most of the open source community, myself included.

Built on top of the Raspberry Pi, with a customized bitcoin-mining ASIC and a heat sink, it is a one of a kind MVP. It is a foreshadowing of the things that Bitcoin will get itself into for the next couple of years. Intended to be a readily available stream of satoshis for app development, services and devices, it takes Bitcoin integration to a more developer-friendly atmosphere. Simply typing “21 mine” in its command line interface will have already get you started with either background or foreground mining, ready for your bitcoin-powered apps and services.

To give you an overview of just how versatile this platform is, here are some of the stuff you can do with it:

  • Create your own bitcoin game
  • Make a fully functional Bitcoin-payable API with flask
  • Delve into Bitcoin accelerated computing via a remote server
  • Translate English to Chinese (and get paid with BTC of course)
  • Receive an SMS from anyone for Bitcoin (without revealing your phone number)

If those things got you all worked up, then head out to their official site for the step-by-step guides.

It is ironic however that this treat could not be purchased with our beloved BTC (what a sham). The team themselves states that:

“payment in bitcoin is not as big an improvement at the present time over standard ways to purchase macroscopic physical goods….. where Bitcoin really shines is for micropayments, as a medium of exchange for digital goods and services.”

Be that as it may, the community’s outrage should be expected, and let’s hope that 21 INC changes their predicament on the matter.

 

Recently, Rebit.PH – a Bitcoin remittance startup based here in the Philippines partnered with some notable companies around the globe. Rebit.PH is slowly growing, branching out not only to provide domestic or say, local remittances, but is easing the processes of Bitcoin remittance from overseas through the help of key partners across the globe.

One of those partners we mentioned above, is the alt-coin to Bitcoin hero, Shapeshift.io, as Satoshi Citadel Industries (Rebit.PH’s mother company) announced last September 29, 2015. Shapeshift.io is a means of instant and automatic alternative cryptocurrency exchange to Bitcoin, which can be used with custom payment gateways to allow the merchant to receive Bitcoins after the exchange. This would allow more ways to send money around the Philippines or from abroad, as some people would branch out to alt-coins for their added functionality, but would prefer Bitcoins as a means of payment because of its relative stability compared to these alt-coins.

Another would be ZipZap, a global money transfer application based in California. It wouldn’t exactly be based on Bitcoin, but through ZipZap, Rebit allows more ways of remittance from overseas (in the United States of America). This would be extremely beneficial for many Filipinos, especially for the large bulk of Oversees Filipino Workers living in the USA.

More news from Rebit and SCI are to come. As one of the most innovative and steady-growing startups centered on Bitcoin here in the Philippines, we have a whole lot more to see in the future.

Some people think a digital currency would usually mean something like gold pieces from a video game or credit for online shopping, and while that would be true, the same just can’t be said for Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency has grown so much since its birth in 2009, and before its peak back when $25 worth of pizza were bought with 10,000 BTC. Sure, the exchange rate is just a meager fourth of what it was back then in 2012, and whether or not we see Bitcoin restored back to its so called “glory days” with soaring conversion rates, but it’s undeniable that this digital currency has been, is and will continue to be a big deal. Here in the Philippines, Bitcoin is still growing, but we’re getting there, nonetheless, as paying your bills has become easier with bitcoin.

That’s right. No more going to the local Bayad Center or your nearby Meralco branch just to pay your electric bill. Coins.ph allows you to get that over with real quick.

And not just that. Need to pay the Maynilad water bill? Credit card expenses due? Cignal needs a boost? Out of load? Need to pay your tuition for this semester?

Just by going to Coins.ph, go to Bill Payments, fill in your credentials and hit pay bill. Do note however, its better to pay way before the deadline. Just like that and you won’t have to whine about having to walk out when its that time of the month and the deadline’s up.

When you’re asked to go to the mall to pay your bills or make a roundtrip across the entire city to pay for electricity, water and school, why not just boot up your laptop and pay from there? So make sure to check out Coins.ph next time that happens.

Maraming Pilipino ang gumagamit ng kanilang mga telepono araw-araw. Lahat ng ito’y may mga postpaid na plano sa mga telcom na kompanya, kundi naman ay bumibili ng load credits sa sari-sari store. Maraming walang oras pumuntang sari-sari store para lang bumili ng load, at marami naming wala ring transportasyon! Ngayon, puwede ka nang magbayad kung san ka man naroroon! Load gamit ang Bitcoin, Dogecoin o Litecoin? Walang problema!

Ang mobile shop ay ginawa at nakabase sa Pilipinas, ngunit ang mga serbisyong dala nito ay nagagamit din para sa iba’t-ibang mga bansa, mapa-United Sates ‘man o Indonesia! At siyempre naman, hindi lang din para sa telepono ang serbisyong iyan, kundi pati na rin sa prepaid na satellite TV tulad ng Cignal-TV! At kung sa tingin mo magtatapos pa roon ang kalawakan ng serbisyo ng MobileShop.ph, aba’y nagkakamali ka dahil hindi lang din Bitcoin ang tinatanggap na bayad dito, kundi pati ang Litecoin at Dogecoin! Sila rin ay nagkakaroon ng mga promo para sa kanilang mga serbisyo, paminsan ay discount, at kundi man discount, ay pan-dagdag naman sa iyong biniling load package!

Nakakatulong ang serbisyong ito sa masa ng Pilipinas, dahil una sa lahat, puwedeng bumili ng load credits ang mga mamamayan sa kanilang mga bahay o kung saan man nila gusto! Nakatutulong ito sa mga taong laging nagtatrabaho, walang transportasyon o kung anu-ano man! Isa pa’y di tulad ng ibang mga pam-malayuang mga paraang pambayad, mababa ang bayaring para sa pagpapadala!

Panload man, panregalo o ano man, MobileShop.PH. Isang serbisyong tumatanggap at gumagamit ng Bitcoin para sa sambayanang Pilipino!

Link papuntang mobileshop:
MobileShop

Paper wallets are slips or sheets of paper which contains a Bitcoin Private Key and/or a QR code for cold BTC Storage. Right now, the popularity of paper wallets is slowly increasing, as the market for tangible or so people say, “Physical Bitcoins” increases. There are a few paper wallet suppliers available for collectors, and some also cater to the wider range of masses in places including the Philippines.

PrepaidBitcoin.ph, a running paper wallet service here in the Philippines offers a range of top-up style Bitcoin load cards the Filipino masses are already accustomed with, from topping up our cellphones load balance. Currently, you can purchase your Bitcoin Prepaid Cards in 3 places: in the BitMarket.ph Office, at the Yardstick Coffee Shop, and at BaiCapture Offices all in Makati, Philippines. As Bitcoin awareness spreads throughout the Philippines, so will the demand for Bitcoins. Filipinos are used to frequently visiting convenience stores and small stalls to purchase mobile credit top-up cards, quite similar to that of “Prepaid Bitcoin” paper wallets.

Although right now there are very limited locations to buy these prepaid cards, they offer a reseller program which both offers a business opportunity for people here in the Philippines, but also allows people to set up more locations to buy the PrepaidBitcoin cards.

Using PrepaidBitcoin.ph’s cards are as easy as buy, scratch and enter! After purchasing and scratching open the code, you can easily navigate to http://www.prepaidbitcoin.ph and enter your card number and wallet address, and now you have some Bitcoins. This process is a lot easier than going over to the bank, depositing to an exchange’s account, find and/or wait for the right price and buy, which would probably take 12 hours at least. With these prepaidbitcoin.ph cards, although with a few fees, can take at most a few hours, or even less, as Smart Communication Philippines’s e-pin shop Gamex also offers PrepaidBitcoin.ph e-pins, where you can buy using Sun Cellular and/or Smart Comms. mobile credit.

The convenience brought to the masses by these prepaid Bitcoin cards may be the key to further mass adoption, especially to developing countries as the Philippines since a big number of citizens are un-banked, and some don’t have the luxury of time to be undergoing the whole Bitcoin exchange process, or prefer an automatic trustless exchange unlike peer to peer exchange or peer to peer services like LocalBitcoins.

Other more notable paper-wallets are PaperSafe’s Satoshi Notes, or BitStake Nigeria’s prepaid Bitcoin cards, just like PrepaidBitcoin.ph

Right now, Bitcoin may just be slowly spreading to the masses, in many developing countries like the Philippines, India or Africa. These prepaid Bitcoin Cards, or paper-wallets, may just be the key for widespread awareness.