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ANI gets DA nod for first asset-backed tokens

02:11 PM April 30, 2021

Listed AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Authority of Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) to launch the 1DA 1Bataan 1ANI Agri Digitalization Program via the Bataan Freeport.

The tripartite agreement paves the way for the rollout of a blockchain-based platform for trading agricultural produce and virtual currencies globally. The aim is to facilitate financial inclusion of agri stakeholders, especially unbanked Filipino farmers and fisherfolk, through a regulated financial technology platform and licensed virtual currency.

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The 1ANI e-commerce platform, a financial technology (FinTech) ecosystem, allows local farm input requirements and output to be traded using virtual currencies and opens up financing and trading opportunities to institutional buyers and foreign investors residing outside the Philippines, said ANI president and CEO Antonio Tiu.

Under the MOU, ANI will initially secure a license from AFAB for the issuance and use of Agri Tokens in the Freeport Area of Bataan before commencing global operation of the FinTech ecosystem.

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A Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas-approved (BSP) branch of an affiliate bank within the freeport is also required to act as custodian bank for the Agri Token and provide other financial services. In addition, ANI will establish and secure a license for an AgriXchange Commodities and Futures Trading Center with AFAB to act as a Virtual Currency Exchange for the conversion of fiat money to virtual currencies and vice versa. The commodities and futures exchange will also trade basic commodities in the ASEAN region such as rice, corn, sugar, copra, etc. to allow farmers and institutional buyers to hedge.

The same document includes the development and establishment of a food terminal complex, cold/dry storages, and logistics hub within the freeport in coordination with the Bataan local government units and DA to boost the country’s food security program. The MOU shall have immediate effect upon signing by the three parties.

The digitalization initiative is in sync with ANI‘s e-voucher financing project with Landbank of the Philippines where LBP will also participate in funding agri-agra lending via e-vouchers using ANI’s close looped digital platform. Agriculture Secretary William Dar is spearheading the digital transformation of Philippine agriculture through the 1DA agri digital program.

An asset-backed virtual currency is a crypto linked to an asset pool with economic value. Asset-based virtual currencies are used to digitize certain assets via blockchain technology to securitize assets while ensuring traceability of the flow of funds. ANI embracing this disruptor will be a major game changer as the country’s agri sector employing close to a third of the population has an estimated funding gap of at least US$30 billion a year.

Tiu is spearheading vision #GREEN2030 to achieve carbon neutral status within his group on or before year 2030. He recently announced acquisitions in BRB Digital Bank and Upay Digital Technologies, both with EMI licenses, in order to better serve farmers and fisherfolk. Tiu’s expanding ecosystem will fuel better liquidity and wider circulation of securitized tokens while providing an unique securitized financial instrument to entice foreign investors to fill the gap of the underserved Philippine market.

Prior to the tripartite agreement, ANI secured green light from the SEC for the firm’s ASEAN green bond rating for its 75-million euro long term green bond. This was after international rating and research firm CICERO granted ANI a “medium green” rating, the highest given to an agricultural firm issuing green bonds.

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