The Philippines now has 16 approved crypto exchanges

January 15, 2021

While the rest of the world over the past five years has been busy along the path to cashless status (in terms of fiat currency), the Philippines took everyone by surprise by branching away from this path. Around the world, research and development on cryptocurrencies have risen steadily as governments and businesses have started to see it as a way to improve their standing amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Many reports have pronounced the Philippines as one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world. The Philippines' Government has shown a generally favorable outlook on cryptocurrencies, having allowed the growth of crypto exchanges. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, has so far approved 16 cryptocurrency exchange service providers in total. 

The latest list of "Remittance and transfer companies (RTC) with virtual currency (VC) exchange services" shows four recently-approved cryptocurrency exchanges:

  • Finchain Technology Inc. 
  • Iremit Inc.
  • Moneybees Forex Corp.
  • Wibs PHP Inc.

These four has four joined the existing crypto exchanges previously approved by the BSP: 

  • Aba Global Philippines (Coexstar)
  • Atomtrans Tech, Betur (dba Coins.ph)
  • Bexpress
  • Bloomsolutions (Bloomx)
  • Coinville Phils
  • Etranss Remittance International, Fyntegrate (dba Philippine Digital Asset Exchange or PDAX)
  • Rebittance (Rebit, Buybitcoin.ph)
  • Telcoin
  • Zybi Tech (dba Juancash)

As previously reported by News.Bitcoin.com, there were 13 approved crypto exchanges in the Philippines back in 2018. However, Bitan Moneytech has been removed and is no longer on the above BSP-approved list as of June 2020.

This time, BSP established a formal regulatory framework for crypto exchanges in its Circular No. 944 dated Feb. 6, 2017. According to this framework, Crypto exchanges must register with the BSP as remittance and transfer companies.

Cryptocurrency is No Longer Cryptic for the Filipinos

The Philippines advances to innovate in the area of blockchain technology and crypto-assets. The Union Bank of the Philippines (Unionbank), the Bureau of the Treasury, and crypto exchange PDAX launched a blockchain app called Bonds.ph to distribute government bonds. The Treasurer of the Philippines, Rosalia V. De Leon, explained that the new mobile app will allow Filipinos, particularly the unbanked population, to invest in the government’s latest retail treasury bond and raise funds to help economic recovery and strengthen the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unionbank, one of the largest banks in the country, installed a bitcoin ATM early in 2019. And its subsidiary UBX has invested in the PDAX exchange. As stated by Edwin R. Bautista, President/CEO at Union Bank of Philippines, This is the first retail treasury bond issuance to leverage on blockchain technology – in Asia, and likely the world," He assured that the Philippines is ready to lead the way into the future and tech up the nation with innovative, inclusive opportunities, powered by emerging technologies, for the benefit of all Filipinos.

Key Points

Some of the key pointers citizens have to consider before transacting in cryptocurrency in the Philippines are:

  • High-value payouts of more than 500,000 Philippine Peso in any single transaction shall only be made through direct credit or check payment to deposit accounts.
  • All cryptocurrency exchanges shall maintain an internal control system commensurate to their respective businesses' nature, size, and complexity.
  • All exchanges shall follow the guidelines issued by the Bangko Sentral on maintaining records and the submission of required reports in such forms as necessary and determined by the SES, Bangko Sentral.

Digital Assets of the Philippines

Initially, the volatile nature of cryptocurrency had kept many financial officers on their toes. At the beginning of 2019, there was talk of enforcing a slew of regulations that would cap the unlimited freedom that the virtual currency enjoys. Part of the reason was the increased use of crypto by terror outfits such as ISIS.

Rather than going nuclear altogether on the digital asset, the Philippines adopted a more measured, rational approach. According to the Bangko Setral ng Pilipinas, BSP-registered VC exchanges are now required to place adequate safeguards to address the risks associated with VCs, such as basic controls on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, technology risk management, and consumer protection.

Back in 2019, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) revealed there were 11 registered exchange operators validated by the central bank of the Philippines. In addition to these operators, 37 more licenses have been given the go-ahead to operate in the Philippines' special economic zone.

These are indeed exciting times: for cryptocurrency and for the country. The digital asset is poised to revolutionize everyday transactions in the Philippines. And all the winds are blowing in the right direction; in terms of government approval, financial regulations, and economic factors.

Final Word

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, the Philippines is one of those countries looking to promote innovation and boost adoption by way of favorable regulations and technological advancements. Recent developments, along with the government's support, makes the Philippines a country where adoption of the digital currency is only going to get better with time.

Send more than money.