Lightning payment network for cooperatives — an introduction
Lightning makes payments borderless, very fast and cheap. This site shows why and how we can bring Lightning to co-ops in the Philippines and around the world. Watch these 10 videos to find out!
Boracay is Bitcoin Island
Boracay is one of the most famous tourist destinations worldwide. Bitcoin payment is being popularized here by Bitcoin Island Philippines and Pouch. Pouch* is a web and mobile app that auto-converts Lightning payments to pesos (Php).
*From Pouch you can send your monies to local banks (BDO, etc.) and other payment systems (GCash, Maya) in the Philippines.
El Zonte is Bitcoin Beach
El Zonte* is in El Salvador, the country in Central America that was first to pass a law making bitcoin legal tender (2021). There is a Bitcoin Beach Wallet (highly recommended). Galoy is its maker. And there is a bitcoin beach website.
*In cooperative lenses, El Zonte is bitcoin's 31 Toad Lane, El Salvador is Rochdale (UK), Salvadorans are the Pioneers, and Satoshi Nakamoto is Robert Owen.
El Salvador is Bitcoin Country
The Bitcoin Law was passed by the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador on 8 June 2021, giving bitcoin the status of legal tender within El Salvador after 7 September 2021.*
*The law states that the purpose of this law is to regulate bitcoin as unrestricted legal tender with liberating power, unlimited in any transaction, and to any title that public or private natural or legal persons require carrying out.
Cooperatives in the Philippines: you can Lightning now! (2 or 5 steps)
(1) Accept bitcoin payment via Lightning now — Download the Muun wallet (mobile). Accept Lightning / bitcoin payments. Now you have bitcoin.
(1A) Another option: Pouch — It has a web and mobile app that auto-converts Lightning payments to pesos (Php). The local advantage of Pouch is that from Pouch you can send your monies to local banks (BDO, etc.) and other payment systems (GCash, Maya) in the Philippines.
(2) Pay in bitcoin via Lightning using Muun now — From (1) above, once you have bitcoin in Muun, you can use that bitcoin to pay in bitcoin.
Note (a): In Muun, you will see the denomination called "satoshi" (SAT). Bitcoin is BTC. A satoshi is a unit of bitcoin. One (1) bitcoin is 100,000,000 (100M) satoshis. So, 0.0000123 bitcoin is 1,230 satoshis.
Note (b): In Muun, you can also see the equivalent amount in pesos. 1,230 satoshis is 11.03 pesos.
Note (c): For smaller day-to-day payments, you use the Lightning Network (fast and cheap). For bigger amounts, use the main Bitcoin Network (slower and more expensive). You can see both options in your Muun wallet. In both, you are moving the same thing: bitcoin.
(2A) Pay in bitcoin via Lightning using Pouch now — From (1A) above, you will have pesos in your Pouch wallet. But you can use that to make payments in bitcoin via Lightning (or in peso). You can also send money to your bank, GCash or Maya.
(3) Convert some pesos to bitcoin first — Download the Coins.ph wallet (web and mobile). Transfer pesos from your bank/GCash to your Coins.ph wallet. Convert the pesos to bitcoin. Now you have bitcoin.
Note: This extra step is no longer needed. Just use Pouch to send pesos to your Pouch. Or send bitcoin, which is automatically converted to pesos. Adding pesos to Pouch is easy now because in the latest update (first week of December 2022), once you open a Pouch wallet you automatically get a bank account with Netbank.
(4) Transfer bitcoin from Coins.ph wallet to Muun or Pouch wallet — Because Coins.ph has no Lightning. Coins.ph would be slower and more expensive to use for day-to-day bitcoin payments. See Note (c) above.
Note: No longer necessary since you can use Pouch. In any case, we don't recommend Coins.ph anymore because of a number of factors. We only recommended this before out of necessity (in converting peso to bitcoin).
(5) Do (1) and (2) again — We like Muun and Pouch, but you can use any other Lightning wallets. They are all inter-operable because bitcoin and Lightning are open networks.
Cooperatives in other countries: you can Lightning now! (8 wallets)
A. Muun Wallet — We mention this again because this is our favorite wallet in terms of UX, UI, backup/security and control of funds (Mobile only).
B. Bitcoin Beach Wallet — The UI is superb and its stablesats implementation is potentially revolutionary (Mobile only).
C. IBEX Pay — Our favorite among Point of Sale (POS) Lightning implementations. If this has pesos as option for currency, this would be useful for cooperatives in the Philippines immediately (Web and POS).
D. Open Node — Our second favorite among Point of Sale (POS) Lightning implementations. This has pesos (Web and POS).
E. BlueWallet — (Mobile only)
F. Strike — This isn't accessible in the Philippines yet (Mobile only)
G. CashApp — This isn't accessible in the Philippines yet (Mobile only)
H. Wallet of Satoshi — (Mobile only)
The Philosophy of Cooperation
Business owned by its own customers (control). Products and/or services used by its customers (patronage). Profits benefit its members (economic participation). Collective freedom
The Philosophy of Bitcoin
Money that is not printed out of thin air (sound money). Money that be saved and need not be invested in other financial instruments (honest money or "store of value" money). Money that can be spent without asking the permission of an intermediary (freedom money). Individual liberty
Atty. Lyman A. Manzanares has dedicated most of his and his Firm's entire CSR to building and innovating in the Co-op and Allied Sectors, serving as Founding Cooperator, Co-operative Secretary, Director, General Counsel, External Counsel or Advisor to many of the Philippines' largest co-operatives, including 1CISP, FICCO, CHMF, SIDC, SDCC, and ACDI.A practicing lawyer for almost two decades, his work encompassed the public and private sector, leaving the government in 2010 as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Finance, DOF. Previously, he was Special Counsel to the Insurance Commissioner (IC) and Consultant to the Presidential Advisor for Sublic and Clark Area Development (SCAD). He has structured and negotiated international procurement, private equity and project financial deals in the Philippines, Hong Kong and the U.S.A partner and special counsel to the Palafox and Romero Law Firm, he belongs to the UP College of Law Class of 2004 and is a member of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Makati Chapter. Lyman is building some of the Firm's experimental practice groups.
Special Counsel, Palafox & Romero Law Firm (MRPP Law)
Founding and ex Partner, M&A, MPLO, MBPLO, AMCA
Receivership & Liquidation
Mergers & Acquisitions
Venture Capital & Private Equity
Patents, Trademarks and Copyright
Overseas Development Assistance
Banking & Finance
PR and Media
ex Special Assistant to the Secretary, DOF
ex Special Counsel to the Commissioner, IC
ex Consultant, Presidential Adviser to SCAD
Founder, The Co-operative Exchange
Founding CEO, Domain Name Register Inc.
Founding and ex Director, Digicoop
Go where the puck is going,
Not where it's been.
How to create and dominate the fintech+ practice category in the Philippines
There is no law practice category called Fintech+ ("Fintech plus"). We are inventing it to dominate it. The term sucks, but that will do until we invent a better name to go with the category we are creating. We use the term "fintech" to bridge it to the new field of play we seek to lead.So what is Fintech+? Fintech is anything fintech that deals with "fiat" (peso, USD, etc.) money, like electronic money issuer (EMI) companies. Fintech is also anything fintech that deals with crypto but with "shitcoins," illegal securities, and other blockchain scams.Fintech+ are activities that primarily use or are built on the foundations of sound money. Sound money is bitcoin and Lightning. By examples, fintech+ is anything you see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Why bitcoin and Lightning? It's unstoppable money. Unlike peso or dollars, it doesn't need any permission from anyone. It doesn't pass thru any gatekeeper, be it a bank or any third party intermediary. No government can stop it. It allows for the cheapest, fastest and free-est transfer of money not just in the Philippines but anywhere in the world, to and from.Bitcoin has no borders nor banking hours. It's the only thing right now that makes real and attainable financial inclusion for everyone, especially the unbanked, possible in our lifetime.Why should money be unstoppable? Because money represents the value of your hard work. Blood, sweat and tears. When you get paid money, no one ought to be telling you what to do with it because you earned it. No corporation should be able to decide to cut your access to your own money.Also, you should be able to save your money without being pressured to "invest" it somewhere just because the paper bill Mickey Mouse usually being given to you is continuing to devalue because somebody is printing money limitlessly into the economy.The poor keeps his money in a can and under the mattress. Because he has no access to the bank. And because somebody is playing with Mickey Mouse money, i.e. money printed out of whim and out of thin air, the poor keeps losing even more to inflation. It doesn't have to be.Why limit ourselves to sound money? Integrity, philosophy, technical superiority and security, and public relations - we cannot be dealing in nor supporting "shitcoinery" and other so-called blockchain shenanigans.There might be "in-betweens" in NFTs and the so-called metaverse. Our discord server has channels on these. But I don't believe ugly bored apes should be worth anywhere near 77 of any shitcoin (more than $100,000).
We are in a bear market, not just crypto but the world economy in general. The best time to study, build, learn, prepare, and launch new things and anything hard enough to be worth doing is during the bear market.
(A) Learn bitcoin by doing.
(B) Connect with law and regulations.
(C) Be in conversation with bitcoin companies.
(D) Know how to build and actually build something.
How to do it
(A) Learn bitcoin by doing. Learn bitcoin by experiencing its power, intelligence, simplicity, beauty, and elegance yourself.
(1) Download Muun or Pouch.ph. There are many other good bitcoin and Lightning wallets, but Muun is the best one, IMO. Muun does not ask for any ID or selfie. The Pouch.ph app does, but since it's the one being used in Boracay and Siargao, you might as well.
(2) Get a little bitcoin for yourself.* The starting point is to exchange some pesos with bitcoin, e.g. 100 Pesos.After all these years, the easiest way to do this in the Philippines is still by using Coins.ph. Once you have downloaded the Coins.ph app, it's easy to add some pesos to it.Once you have pesos in your Coins.ph app, convert some of that to bitcoin. Beware: There are shitcoins in the Coins.ph app.How about GCash and Maya? As for Maya, we don't just not recommend it, we recommend against using it to buy bitcoin there. As for GCash, they have a GCrypto in their app, but it is still "Coming soon." We will review it when it launches.
(3) Transfer your bitcoin to Muun or/and Pouch.ph wallets from your Coins.app. Voila, now your money is free!You can do whatever you want with it and no one can stop you from doing anything with it. If you're in Boracay or Siargao, pay the sari-sari store with it.
(B) Connect with law and regulations
This is a developing field, and there are currently no law or regulation specific to bitcoin and shitcoins. But we are collating related materials in our discord server channels as we pick them up from publications of US (mostly) law firms, SEC (US), BSP (MORB) and SEC (draft rules).Better yet, understand and imbibe bitcoin's multi-disciplinary, philosophical, engineering and technical underpinnings. This takes time, but there can be nothing more beautiful than this "rabbit hole."
(C) Be in conversation with bitcoin companies.
Being in continuing conversation means not only connecting with bitcoin companies and leading personalities. It also means putting out proofs of our work as a Firm in this field out in public. This means writing opinions in public for an international audience. This also means participating in legislative efforts to codify what should be the rules as far as bitcoin and shitcoins are concerned.We should get started doing this as soon as we are ready. Again, by example, fintech+ is anything you see with companies like Blockstream, Braiins, OpenNode, Strike, Galoy Bank, NYDIG, and Swan. They are representative of the kind of clients we want to attract to the Firm's Fintech+ Practice Group.
(D) Know how to build and actually build something.
Bitcoin and Lightning are open systems and open protocols available for free to anyone who wants to build something. Every business is a technology business. Every profession is a technology profession.We are organizing a tech arm to be tech-first and tech-driven in our operations, in our culture. In how we do things, in how we find solutions to difficult problems. When technology is part of our culture as a Firm, it will be a robust and long-term competitive advantage.
(E) BONUS 1: Be legendary by being the first law firm to run a full bitcoin node and install a satellite base station to get bitcoin from space.
We already run a full bitcoin node at the Firm, we just don't know it yet. Satellite base stations, bitcoin mining and hardware wallets are advanced for this whitepaper.
*A little bitcoin
People are intimidated by the current value of one (1) bitcoin. But we are too early. Bitcoin has been running without fail since January 3, 2009, with an uptime of 99.9%. It's just over a decade.What most people don't know is that you can buy a fraction of a bitcoin. They are called satoshis (a nod to Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of bitcoin who disappeared in 2010). 1 bitcoin is equivalent to 100,000,000 satoshis. You can buy 100 Pesos worth of bitcoin. You will get 10,000 Satoshis. Yes, you can do that. Tell your loved ones, and friends. They will thank you for it.
It's not that easy. But it's not that hard. Life offers no promises, including in practice, especially in a practice area that is cutting-edge. But being lucky doesn't come out of nowhere. Luck comes from working hard and preparing hard to be lucky.
Fix the money, fix the world, bitcoiners would say. By understanding the nature and philosophy of money we might just become better practitioners of our own Art of Law. Or, rather than Shakespeare telling the world to "First, kill all lawyers," we might just actually live to tell the tale and make the world a better place.
Don't trust, Verify
An ethos central to bitcoin.
With this I say, Good luck, Pleb!
MRPP Whitepaper No. 001-2022
Partner and Special Counsel, Palafox and Romero Law Firm (MRPP Law)
Founder, The Co-operative Exchange
Founding Chair and CEO, DNRI
Founding and ex Director, DTSC