A Japanese businessman, who started a chain of beauty salons in the Philippines in 2013, plans to put up automated teller machines for JuncaCoin—the ﬁrst beauty cryptocurrency that can change the remittance industry.
Hisayuki Nagatome, founder and CEO of Junca Group, says he is just waiting for the final approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas before deploying at least 50 state-of-the-art ATMs that can trade JuncaCoin and exchange them into different legal tenders such as the US dollar, Japanese yen or Philippine peso.
“We plan to put up 50 ATMs first in Metro Manila, then Davao and Cebu. Our plan is to put them in convenience stores and airports. We can also partner with banks. This will be our biggest investment because this is a very big project,” says Nagatome, who frequently flies between Japan and the Philippines for different business deals.
He says similar machines will be opened in the US, Europe and Asia where there are large concentrations of Filipinos.
Junca Group, whose businesses include salon, construction and development, financial technology, skills training, consultancy and electric vehicles, will soon launch JuncaCoin ATMs which can be most helpful in international remittance and cash donations.
The virtual currency ATM will allow app users to buy cryptocurrency or withdraw cash from their VC wallet.
“I want to support Asian economies. Right now, we need to change the system through the new financial technology of blockchain and cryptocurrency,” Nagatome says in an interview at his office in Makati City.
“With this ATM, Filipinos in the US can send money to the Philippines immediately. For now, it takes two to three days to send money from the US to the Philippines and it is expensive. With our technology, it will only take one hour which is almost real-time,” he says.
“If you have our application, you can buy JuncaCoin and transact through smartphone. Immediately, you can receive JuncaCoin. You can go to the ATM and withdraw in peso,” he says.
“There are 110 million Filipinos today. Our target is to reach at least 30 percent of the population for remittance, payments, online shopping and money exchange,” he says.
Nagatome says he expects the BSP to approve his application soon. He says the BSP has already accredited 13 cryptocurrency exchanges.
A Shinto minister, marketing expert and business consultant, Nagatome is also an award-winning hair designer who discovered the juncalogy hair treatment that avoids using chemicals. “Juncalogy can revive any problematic hair. It is the only technology of its kind in the world,” he says.
Nagatome was 18 when he started to work in a Japanese salon. He visited England in 2002 and joined Vidal Sassoon in London. He also toured Europe to discover the different techniques of hairstyling. In 2006, he was Japan’s representative in the World Style Contest held in Amsterdam.
He established Junca Group in 2009 but moved to the Philippines in 2015. He chose to establish his business in the Philippines because of its strategic location and role in Asian history, he says.
“I have almost 40 employees in the Philippines right now and Junca Salon has four branches in Tomas Morato in Quezon City, Pasong Tamo Extension and Washington Street in Makati City and Fort Bonifacio in Taguig,” he says.
Nagatome promotes the universal concept of beauty without racism. It is through this belief that he developed the idea for JuncaCoin as a beauty cryptocurrency.
“My mission is to support Asians. I chose the beauty industry first, because in the beauty industry, there is no discrimination against race or gender. That is why it is very good,” he says.
Nagatome plans to open Junca Salon for franchising. “Our target is to have 100 branches in the Philippines,” he says. To support the expansion, Junca Group formed a construction unit that will be in charge of design and development of each store.
Nagatome, who studied marketing, chemistry and history, is an advocate of junca or “be right and honest” concept which he applies on his business strategy.
He says that based on his history studies, the Philippines played a crucial role in Asia because of its strategic location. This is where western influences reached Asia first, he says. “Centuries ago, western people came to Asia via the Philippines. They divided the Asian countries. It was unfair. That’s why I want to help Asian economies,” he says.
“Europeans first came to Asia via the Philippines because of its good location. It is strategic and very connected. Then, from the Philippines, they could go to other Asian countries. My vision is to apply the same strategy in business. I chose to operate first in the Philippines because it was the first to be exposed to western people centuries ago. From here, we want to reach other Asian countries,” he says.
Nagatome says the Philippines is also growing fast and has a young population who can support the needs of other Asian countries.
He established Junca Academy to provide educational support to young Filipinos. “In the Philippines, there are too many young people who have no money to go to skills training schools. Junca Group can grant scholarships and lend money to students similar to ‘Study Now, Pay Later’ program,” he says.
The plan, he says, is to tap the great potential of human resources in the Philippines and produce world-class hair artists and other professionals in the beauty sector.
Junca Group also plans to team up with an electric vehicle manufacturer to replace the old jeepneys. “We will release electric jeepneys with air-con. They are very clean and good for the environment. Inside, we will put our payment system. We will provide Wi-Fi in all jeepneys,” he says.
Another project in the offing, he says, is Junca Cafe which will serve healthy food and coffee. “We will serve donut that has no fat because we will use special probiotic oil from Japan,” he says.
Nagatome says that beyond business ventures, his group focuses on charity activities including hair donation. “At Junca, we are committed to social contribution, and we work to realize world peace,” he says.
Nagatome recently received an international cultural and humanitarian award from the Higashikuni-no-miya royal family in Japan for his social contribution from an international perspective.
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