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Good morning,

Welcome back to Strait Up, our weekly newsletter that makes sense of what’s going on in Southeast Asia.

This week, we have a ringside seat to the rapidly evolving nature of crime in the Philippines. Until recently, criminals made a killing by using slick online and text message scams. Now, Isa chronicles how they’ve turned their focus to a new business—cryptocurrency trafficking rings.

And criminals aren’t the only ones pivoting their business models in the country. Katrina writes how fintech venture GCash has overcome missing out on a digital banking licence by instead sewing up a series of partnerships with banks like Maybank and CIMB. And to round things off, Nadine has a quick update on how Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources’ (ESDM) seems to be coming to a very delayed realisation about lithium.

Let’s dive in!

Lead image credit: David von Diemar/Unsplash

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