BSP: Bitcoin trade in PH quadruples as sheen lures young Pinoys
Twelve more virtual currency exchanges are applying for registration with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) as the volume of transactions for bitcoin in the Philippines almost quadrupled in the past two years.
In a press briefing Wednesday, BSP core information technology specialist group head and deputy director Melchor Plabasan said bitcoin transactions during the first six months of 2017 averaged $8.8 million a month, up from $2 million in 2015 and $6 million last year.
Plabasan noted that more and more Filipinos were using bitcoins as transferring virtual money cost only 1-3 percent of the value as compared to 8-12 percent when using traditional channels.
Bitcoins were also appealing to the country’s relatively younger population, Plabasan said.
At present, two virtual currency exchanges operate in the Philippines, namely Rebittance and Betur (or coins.ph).
Plabasan said 12 more virtual coin exchanges were applying to do business here.
“They are locally incorporated but a lot of the virtual currency exchanges are majority owned by foreigners. Basically, they are considered as fintech [financial technology] players,” Plabasan said.
“Majority are utilizing bitcoin as the platform. Eight are [already] completing documentary requirements, [and] most of them have completed the presentation of business model,” he added.
Plabasan said the BSP was set to meet with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) next week to discuss the possibility of regulating initial coin offerings (ICOs).
ICO is a process by which cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are sold in order to raise money for start-ups.
“Initially what [the SEC said] on ICOs, if certain offerings will fall under the definition of the Securities Regulation Code, then the SEC will regulate these activities [especially] if it would entail enticing the public to invest. That’s the turf of the SEC. But definitely, it’s going to be a cooperative oversight. The exchange component will also be there [between the BSP and the SEC],” he said.
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