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Gaming guilds help address financial inclusivity in the country

Gaming guilds help address financial inclusivity in the country

According to the 2019 Financial Inclusion Survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), 71% of the entire adult population are unbanked, making it difficult for economic development to trickle down to ordinary Filipinos and enhance their well-being.

Two factors that the BSP uses to measure financial inclusion in the country are access to financial service providers, and uptake of financial services and products. Filipino-led gaming guild Yield Guild Games (YGG) provides insights on how play-to-earn gaming guilds further drives these factors to help fill in gaps in financial inclusivity.

“Play-to-earn is a novel concept that seems straightforward — you play and then earn,” YGG Country Manager Luis Buenaventura said. “Studying our community further, we see how our process has helped make more Filipinos be part of the financial ecosystem and use this to improve their lifestyle.”

A consistent source of income is a major factor in account ownership, with the employed more likely to have their own accounts compared to the unemployed[1]. In the scholarship program of play-to-earn gaming guilds, the low-income to unemployed can earn in-game rewards without upfront risks as the guild lends non-fungible tokens (NFTs) used to play the game.

A certain percentage, 70% in the case of YGG, of their overall earning in the game’s cryptocurrency is remitted to the scholar, and the scholar encashes them to Philippine peso via different platforms i.e. e-money services, banks, or cash. The majority of YGG scholars prefer to use e-money services to store their earnings, showing that a consistent source of income has made consumers more willing to open and sustain their own financial accounts.

While account penetration does not guarantee usage, higher income, together with a consistent source, seems to encourage this. There is a 93.3% increase in the number of active e-money accounts[2], and digital payments have soared in terms of value and volume. In 2019, 39% of holders use their accounts for payment[3], and this trend is expected to continue with more merchants adapting to digital solutions.

Play-to-earn has allowed scholars to have a higher purchasing power and disposable income, and their existing accounts have been used to save or spend. Some YGG scholars have paid for beyond their living expenses and even invested in NFTs to create their own teams. To date, YGG currently has over 5,000, and there are more Filipinos that are members of other gaming guilds.

Boosting these further, YGG also provides support on financial literacy to help members achieve financial stability. Some of these initiatives include setting up of the scholars’ e-wallets, educating the community on prevalent scams, and trading of cryptocurrencies.

“With the rise of play-to-earn gaming, we see the important role played by gaming communities to help Filipinos maximize in-game merits especially to fill in basic necessities. In fact, it is YGG’s commitment to make play-to-earn more accessible to ordinary Filipinos. We look forward to innovations such as this to further boost financial inclusion and stability in the country.” Buenaventura concluded.

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