- BSP launched the pilot Central Bank Digital Currency, Project Agila, with the involvement of major Philippine banks like BDO Unibank, Land Bank, and Union Bank.
- The Philippine banks in BSP CBDC project also include observers such as SeaBank and Citibank.
- BSP is also collaborating with international bodies such as BIS and IMF to align the pilot CBDC project with global standards.
On September 12, 2023, BitPinas will sit down with blockchain lawyer Rafael Padilla to discuss the impact of CBDC in the crypto landscape in the Philippines.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is accelerating its push into the digital currency world with its pilot Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project, known as Project Agila. The initiative will involve some of the country’s largest banks, including BDO Unibank, Land Bank of the Philippines, and Union Bank of the Philippines.
List of Major Philippine Banks in BSP CBDC Project
These institutions will collaborate closely with the BSP to test the applicability and efficiency of wholesale CBDC technology in a controlled, sandbox environment. The central bank has selected Hyperledger as the blockchain to test CBDCs.
By involving the banks that hold significant market share, the BSP said it aims to have more substantial findings and results for its pilot CBDC project.
Notes: The CBDC project is a pilot phase and not final.
Banco de Oro (BDO) is the largest bank in the Philippines in terms of total assets. This bank has a broad consumer base with over 1,600 branches and 4,600 ATMs in the country.
While BDO is not perceived as “crypto friendly” by the local community, it surprised the public with the announcement of its involvement in a pilot CBDC project involving Western Union last month. This CBDC pilot aimed to test the viability of using CBDCs in the U.S. – Philippines remittance corridor.
Land Bank of the Philippines
More commonly known as LandBank, this is a government-owned financial institution in the Philippines. It is the second largest bank in the country.
LandBank has an extensive number of branches in rural banks.
Union Bank of the Philippines
The ninth largest bank in the country, UnionBank is recognized as a top digital financial institution and is the only bank with a more publicly-facing blockchain unit within its organization.
UnionBank’s foray into blockchain and digital assets is extensive and long-standing. It piloted a blockchain-based system called i2i, which it built in partnership with Ethereum firm ConsenSys, to connect rural banks to the main banking network in the Philippines.
UnionBank also has a limited crypto exchange Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) licensed, as confirmed to BitPinas by the BSP. It also has a digital bank licensee subsidiary called “UnionDigital”.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) is also one of the largest banks in the country. Its executive Vice President Lito Villanueva is Chairman of the Board at the Alliance of Digital Finance Associations, and Chairman of Fintech Alliance PH.
In 2019, there was a report that stated RCBC was intending to launch a peso-backed stablecoin utilizing IBM’s cross-border payment system.
Maya Philippines is a fintech firm that holds a VASP license from the BSP. Maya Bank is also a licensed “digital bank” in the country. Among the financial institutions listed, it is the only one that offers a crypto buy-and-sell service in its app.
China Banking Corporation is a major universal bank in the Philippines and also one of the 10 largest banks in the country.
This month, China Bank launched CHIB GPT, its generative AI product to boost employee productivity.
Observing Banks in BSP CBDC Project
While not directly participating, the following financial institutions are classified as “observers” and may be involved in future phases of the CBDC project.
- Citibank N.A. Manila
- China Bank Savings
- Wealth Development Bank Corporation
- SeaBank Philippines
Apart from the local financial institutions, BSP said it is also working with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ensure the pilot project adheres to global standards.
This article is published on BitPinas: List of 10 Major Philippine Banks in BSP CBDC Project
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