The Philippines has a new fintech unicorn as the Southeast Asian country continues to see an explosion in digital payments adoption. Voyager Innovations, the company behind PayMaya and Maya Bank, has raised $210 million at a $1.4 billion valuation just days after announcing digital currency integration.
The funding round was led by SIG Venture Capital, the Asian venture capital arm of global trading and private equity firm Susquehanna International Group. Singapore’s EDBI and First Pacific Company also participated in the funding round. Existing shareholders, including Chinese giant Tencent and buyout firm KKR and International Finance Corp., also participated.
The funding round makes Voyager the second unicorn in the Philippines after Mynt, the parent company of GCash, the Philippines’ largest mobile payments company and PayMaya’s main rival in the payments market. Mynt raised $300 million in November last year at a valuation of $2 billion to become the first unicorn born in the Southeast Asian nation.
Like PayMaya, GCash announced that it had integrated digital currency purchase services on its platform a month ago. The move allowed GCash “to keep up with the trends and customers’ preferences, like cryptocurrency. And at GCash, we are doing just that to further enhance the customers’ experience and enable them to power up their finances for better lives,” Mynt CEO Martha Sazon remarked at the time.
“With this milestone, we are excited to leap forward and bring the best of PayMaya and Maya Bank to help unlock the digital economy for the underserved and unbanked Filipinos,” Orlando Vea, the CEO and founder of Voyager, commented on the funding round.
The funding validates the company’s ability to expand into neobanking and add new cutting-edge financial services and products, Voyager President Shailesh Baidwan added. Among the referenced new products is the ability to buy, sell and earn digital currencies for PayMaya customers.
As CoinGeek reported (enter link to the article), the company announced that it will now enable its users to seamlessly purchase over ten digital assets on its app with Philippine pesos. Users can now trade directly from their PayMaya wallet at no extra cost after the company received its virtual asset service provider (VASP) license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“Being at the forefront of digital payments and financial services, expanding into crypto is part of our roadmap as we build the Philippines’ most accessible end-to-end money platform,” Baidwan commented.
PayMaya boasts 47 million registered users as of the end of March this year, more than two-thirds of the adult population in the Philippines. It’s the leading non-bank payments processor in the country, facilitating 630,000 online and face-to-face payments from e-wallets to debit and credit cards.
The parabolic growth for both PayMaya and GCash doesn’t come as a surprise. The Philippines is Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing market, with the young digital-savvy population pushing the growth of digital payments. A recent report by Google showed that the country’s Internet economy almost doubled from 2020 to 2021 and is projected to hit $40 billion by 2025.
Despite this growth, the market is still significantly underserved, especially in regards to financial services. Estimates put the unbanked population at about 50%, making the country a vast market for digital financial services.
This has been a key reason digital currencies have found such a ready market, with the Philippines becoming one of the world’s biggest hubs not just for digital asset trading but also for decentralized finance, NFTs, and play-to-earn games.
The P2E game Axie Infinity was recently attacked, with hackers taking off $600 million worth of ETH and USDC from its Ronin Bridge, the Ethereum sidechain on which it’s built—BSV games don’t suffer from such vulnerabilities as it scales on-chain unboundedly.
Following the attack, the BSP was quick to issue a warning against such P2E games, with reports emerging that Filipinos accounted for close to half the users of Axie Infinity and were the most affected by the hack.
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