Joe Maristela, a healthcare entrepreneur, has invested $100,000 in Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI ) and has challenged other traditional business owners to follow him by investing in Philippine technologies. SCI is an umbrella firm for seven Philippine bitcoin companies, including Rebit.ph, a remittance service, Bitmarket.ph, a bitcoin payment processor, and the recently-acquired BuyBitcoin.ph, a bitcoin exchange.
SCI’s mission is to increase bitcoin adoption in the Philippines through the creation of solutions that realize the full potential of bitcoin technology.
Maristela said he invested in SCI since he believes in its mission. He also thinks it has the team in place to ensure the company’s success. Officers include John Bailon, CEO, Jardine Gerodias, COO, and Miguel Cuneta, CCO. Cuneta was one of the co-founders, bringing SCI’s first vertical, Bitmarket.ph, the first bitcoin payment processor in the country with nearly 100 merchants.
Maristela’s investment signifies the growing interest bitcoin is attracting from business leaders from other industries.
Maristela spent most of the past 16 years in his healthcare company, PediaHealth Medical Group. During the past five years, he focused on the back office support system for the medical group.
“Though other people may not know it, the Philippines is at a turning point,” Maristela said. “We must stop thinking about how we can grow our current industries and begin to think about which new ones we can create. Philippine tech is the path to this future, and investors must pave the way.”
Maristela believes SCI offers an example of a company that grows current industries and creates opportunities for new ones. The company has grown from four co-founders to more than 20 people in just over 10 months. The company also supports bitcoin traders who transact via its ecosystem and whose daily trading volume accounts includes millions of pesos.
Maristela recognizes that SCI faces some risks. Like much of the tech industry, bitcoin is volatile.
“If you’re going to evaluate Philippine tech-based purely on numbers, there will be many other industries that will likely yield a much higher return on investment. But if you’re talking about potential impact on the country, about changing the status quo and improving the lives of Filipinos, there is no greater opportunity,” he said.
SCI can benefit the millions of Filipinos that don’t have bank accounts. It can also dramatically lower the cost of sending and receiving remittances. Bitcoin can save the Philippine economy hundreds of millions of pesos by lowering remittance costs.
Maristela plans to invest in other Philippine startups this year.
“At the end of the day, I look at the team. If a startup has strong co-founders and what they are working on can positively shape the Philippines, then you can bet that I will be first in line to invest in them.”