Pouch.ph, a payment fintech based in the Philippines, said Monday it is transforming the landscape of the Philippine digital economy by enabling more than 400 small businesses to accept and process Bitcoin payments.

Pouch.ph said in a statement that it is tapping into the country’s vast pool of tiny merchants—from mom-and-pop stores to boutique hotels.

It said the firm utilizes Lightning Network built atop Bitcoin to make digital payments quicker, cheaper, and more user-friendly.

This payment protocol allows customers to pay by scanning a merchant’s QR code with any Bitcoin wallet.

Pouch.ph then converts that Bitcoin to Pesos and sends the money directly to the merchant’s bank or mobile money account, making the process easy and efficient for both parties.

One of the most significant challenges for the growth of small businesses is the availability of payment methods, with credit cards charging fees up to three percent, according to Pouch.ph Chief Executive Officer Ethan Rose.

“With the growing number of internet and smartphone users in the Philippines, Bitcoin as a payment method will allow those who do not have credit cards or even local fiat currency to make online or in-store purchases,

“We’re helping businesses open up a vast market that was previously untapped,” he said.

According to the statement, more than 250 local businesses in the popular tourist destination of Boracay, including convenience stores, cafes, hotels, and restaurants, have already enrolled with Pouch.ph and have been integrating Bitcoin payments into their daily operations.

Building on this success, the fintech firm is actively expanding its reach beyond “Boracay Bitcoin Island” and has onboarded merchants in Cebu City, Dumaguete, Iloilo, and Bacolod City.

In Metro Manila, some establishments have also started accepting Bitcoin as a valid form of payment through Pouch.ph such as the night bar URBN QC in Quezon City, Draper Startup House in Makati City, and niche retailer KosneyLand located inside a mall in Mandaluyong City.

Aside from receiving payments, some partner merchants use Pouch.ph for payroll.

With Batch Pay feature, business owners can instantly send money in batches to employees, suppliers, and other recipients, including transfers to all major banks and e-wallets.

They can transfer payroll directly to a Pouch Netbank Account with no fees, or to a nominated bank account for a minimal fee.

This innovative solution aims to simplify and streamline payment processes for businesses across the country.

Pouch.ph is also preparing to extend its Batch Pay services for over-the-counter remittances through LBC, M Lhuillier, and Palawan Pawnshop.

Founded in 2021, Pouch.ph built the first lightning wallet for the Philippines so that Filipinos can have access to faster, cheaper, and more globally connected digital payments.

The firm allows users to send and receive payments across borders via the Bitcoin lightning network.

Pouch.ph is also partnered with global digital payments like Strike and CoinCorner to enable overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to send money to Philippines instantly and with lower fees.

Pouch.ph said Bitcoin’s Lightning Network is a world-changing technology that boosts financial inclusion and the efficiency of cross-border payments.

The firm is connecting the Philippine economy with the Lightning Network to ensure that Filipinos can seamlessly operate on this new payment standard.

US’s Strike partners Pouch.ph to expand lightning-fast money transfers to the Philippines