With over one thousand students, two hundred government officials, and dozens of SMEs and entrepreneurs present during the Philippine Blockchain Week conference, PBW was a clear celebration of traditional communities making inroads into Web3. This focus on inclusion and education was most evident in the leaders recognized during the Philippine Block Awards.
Held on September 20, during the second day of PBW, the Philippine Block Awards highlighted individuals and firms whose efforts brought more visibility to the nation’s blockchain and cryptocurrency communities. In line with PBW’s position as a “Web2.5” conference, these enablers helped make Web3 more accessible to more traditional communities and industries across the country.
“It’s all about waking up the entire ecosystem,” said PBW lead convener Donald Lim. “We cannot build Web3 without Web2 being there.”
The awardees of the Philippine Block Awards were:
Leaders of the Year (2 Awardees)
Renz Carlo Chong, Co-Founder of BreederDAO
With five years of experience in the fields of growth strategy, data science, and machine learning, Renz Carlo Chong is a celebrated entrepreneur and innovator. After working across startups like Angkas, he moved into blockchain, DeFi, and NFTs. He is the CEO and co-founder of BreederDAO, a blockchain project that focuses on manufacturing high quality game assets, delivering best value to players. He was recently included in the 2022 batch of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 (Asia – Consumer Technology).
Hon. Ivan John E. Uy, Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology
Hon. Ivan John E. Uy’s extensive career in public service spans over 30 years in the field of information and communications technology. He specializes in ICT and its impact on law, justice, and governmental institutions. As the Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, he works towards improving Philippine e-governance, strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity initiatives to protect our citizens from cyber threats and continuing the previous administration’s digital infrastructure buildup to provide widespread connectivity across the country.
Champions (9 Awardees)
Hon. Maria Francesca Del Rosario, Undersecretary of the Department of Budget and Management
Hon. Maria Francesca Del Rosario heads the Information and Communications Technology Group as well as serves as the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Budget and Management. Dedicated to leading the digital transformation agenda of the DBM, she recently received awards in four categories at the Top Women in Security ASEAN Region 2023.
Hon. Emmanuel Diwa Pineda, Undersecretary of the Departments of Human Settlements and Urban Development
Hon. Emmanuel Diwa Pineda was most recently the Chairman and Administrator of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), a pillar supporter of the nation’s blockchain movement. He excels in establishing and maintaining efficient operations and quality management systems, with sufficient knowledge and vast work experience and training in economic zone and freeport authority management as well as economic zone administration and incentives management.
Christopher Verceles, CEO of XC Labs
Christopher Verceles is an innovative developer and entrepreneur. As the CEO of XC Labs, he leads the chain-agnostic NFT laboratory in building and scaling the next generation of phygital assets. He is the CTO and co-founder of lifeme.sh, a Blockchain Solutions Architect at consensys.net, and Cofounder at blockdevs.asia.
Michael Vincent Figueras Mislos, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of BitPinas.com
As the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BitPinas.com, the longest-running crypto publication in the Philippines, he was the first writer to dedicate themselves to covering local cryptocurrency and blockchain developments in the country. Since then, he has been at the forefront of the country’s crypto and Web3 revolution. Through his efforts, BitPinas has been a crucial part of the growth of the local Web3 ecosystem.
Paul Soliman, CEO of BayaniChain
Paul Soliman was the Philippines’ first Microsoft MVP for Business Applications, a testament to his exceptional knowledge and contributions in the field. He is a respected figure in the Philippine blockchain community, serving as a Founding Member of the Blockchain Council of the Philippines. He is also the Founder, CEO, and CTO of Hacktiv Colab Inc., an organization that simplifies DeepTech implementation in APAC.
Jay Ricky Villarante, CEO of 8Ventures
Jay Ricky Villarante is the Chairman and CEO of 8Ventures Pte. Ltd., a conglomerate whose portfolio includes companies such as Paylance Inc., a Bitcoin payments and rewards platform that lets users send money for free and earn bitcoins; Moneybees, a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-licensed cryptocurrency exchange; and Secuna, a cybersecurity testing platform for SMEs, government agencies, banks, and multinational companies.
Alvin Wong, Head of Growth and Product Strategy of Maya
Alvin Wong is a fintech innovator who has led the development of e-wallet ecosystems across the region. Among his roles in Maya, he leads the development of the Maya Protocol, a Cosmos SDK-based decentralized liquidity protocol that enables native swaps across blockchains.
Georgia Rocha, Kimberly Rocha, and Mia Rocha, Founders of Galeria Paloma
Galeria Paloma is a multi-genre art gallery and art advisory firm and consistent collaborator with NFT artists. They primarily offer exhibition support services, teaming up with corporations, galleries, and private entities by providing services in the curation of art exhibitions and events, as well as logistics and exhibition systems.
Jiro Luis B. Reyes, CEO of Bitskwela
Jiro Luis B. Reyes is a Web3 educator and creative director who champions regional cryptocurrency adoption in the Philippines. His experience as a marketer and freelancer in the Web2 space includes stints with Red Bull, Ayala Malls, and Landco Pacific, all leading to the creation of Bitskwela, an EduTech platform that focuses on helping Filipinos own a piece of the internet through multilingual, inclusive crypto-education. Jiro hopes that through Bitskwela, he and his team will help onboard the next 110 million Filipinos onto the Web3 space.
A celebration of Web2.5 innovation
PBW saw a number of collaborations launched and formalized between blockchain players and institutional partners to further Web3 adoption in the country. The Blockchain for Government 101 forum, held during the conference, brought in over 200 government officials and employees to educate them on the use cases, opportunities, and risks of blockchain technologies.
Parallel sessions saw over a thousand students learning about the fundamentals of blockchain, AI, and other frontier technologies shaping the collective futures of the industries they would soon be entering into.
“The future of blockchain in the Philippines is a beacon of hope and opportunity, and it is up to each one of us to shape it,” said Philippine Block Awards Host RJ Ledesma as he closed out the ceremony. “Our collective work has the potential to transform industries, empower individuals, and contribute to the growth and progress of our nation.”