UnionBank Chairman leads Filipino blockchain innovators recognized at the inaugural Philippine Block Awards

The first edition of the Philippine Block Awards, held on December 2 in the Sheraton Manila Hotel, honored 12 leaders who have outstanding accomplishments within the field of blockchain innovations in the country.

The Philippine Block Awards served as the closing ceremony of the highly successful inaugural Philippine Blockchain Week, which featured thought leaders in blockchain, crypto, web3, NFTs and the gaming arena.

Award winners were announced during a glittering ceremony attended by government officials and industry experts from around the world.

Leader of the Year and Leader of the Future

UnionBank of the Philippines Chairman Dr. Justo A. Ortiz received the Leader of the Year Award. Dr. Ortiz is the chair of the Fintech Association of the Philippines, Blockchain Association of the Philippines, and Philippine Payments Management, Inc. He is also a board member of the Global Fintech Alliance founded in Denmark.

In September, UnionBank inaugurated its UnionBank Innovation Campus, a hub for research and development that will enhance the bank’s digital capabilities. Later on, the crypto-licensed bank entered the metaverse as it joined The Sandbox, one of the world’s leading metaverse platforms, and launched its Bitcoin trading and custody services to select retail clients via its mobile application.

The Blockchain Leader of the Future award was given to Rien Lewis Pecson, the eighth grader who created the world’s first blockchain-based voting platform, iVote.ph. Pecson was only 12 years old when he developed the platform last year along with its NFT art creator Neil Fernandez, Jr.

“Dr. Ortiz has helped pave the way for the financial industry to adopt Web3 technology. He heads many of the country’s blockchain groups. Rien, meanwhile, has shown us that young people can make a change in the world through blockchain. We hope that Filipinos will be inspired by their work and start learning more about the technology,” Donald Lim, one of the lead convenors of PH Blockchain Week, said.