Mastercard Philippines Keen to Allow Cryptocurrency Payments

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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday

Mastercard Philippines, a payments firm, recently disclosed that it is open to allowing cryptocurrency transactions on its platform if it will be approved by local regulators. 

According to the platform, crypto and other digital assets “can no longer be dismissed as a passing phase.”

During the 42nd anniversary celebration of the Credit Card Association of the Philippines last Monday, October 17, 2022, Mastercard’s country manager, Simon Calasanz, mentioned that their goal was to widen options for their clients and give them the chance to choose between transacting with either traditional money or virtual currencies. 

He also noted that the firm would like to acknowledge global divisions on how digital assets should be regulated:

“One thing that we espouse for these digital currencies, and depending on the locality [where] it is being offered, there are two things that have to be present. Number one, it has to be fair to the consumer, and number two, it has to be allowed by the regulator.”

Currently, cryptocurrency and other digital assets still do not know where they stand in the country’s regulatory provisions. In fact, the Philippine financial regulators are still seeking defined and clarified rules from the legislation.

The BSP wanted the senate to draft a more specific law for regulating digital assets, as the current Digital Assets Act only aims to recognize but not regulate digital assets by defining what digital assets are and standardizing the process for the licensing and operation of e-money, virtual asset exchanges, and virtual asset businesses. (Read more: BSP Seeks Passage of Digital Asset Law)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on the other hand, would like to have the power to control other cybercrimes that involve digital assets and not only be able to shut down investment scams that are considered investment solicitations that violate the Securities Regulation Code.  (Read more: SEC: Law Focusing on Digital Assets Needed)

Mastercard is one of the world’s largest payment processors and is currently modernizing its platform by embracing alternative currencies such as bitcoin, ether, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In 2021, Mastercard, along with other big companies, tried opening its doors to crypto. (Read more: Thursday Thoughts: Mastercard, Twitter, Amazon, and Celo)

In addition, Calasanz said they would be agile and innovative “to be able to pivot quickly when market and consumer conditions change.”

“In today’s world, money is no longer just a physical asset. It is represented in things like digital wallets, digital currencies, and NFTs,” he said.

The country manager also emphasized that it was also important for large institutions like Mastercard to act as “trusted figures” given concerns over fraud and cybersecurity.

“Today, we are concerned about fraud and theft. But in the future digital world, perhaps there might be other protection roles we need to play. For example, unequal access to lending, financial exclusion, being people left out of the digital revolution,” he concluded.

Handling cryptocurrency in the Philippines requires entities to have a virtual asset services provider (VASP) license. However, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) closed the applications for three years and would not be open until 2024.

Accordingly, in a recent study by the blockchain data platform, Chainalysis titled, “The 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index” where they surveyed over 20 countries for their crypto adoption status, the Philippines ranked 2nd along with other emerging markets in terms of crypto adoption. And as per the data from  Finder Cryptocurrency Adoption Index, the Philippines has roughly 12 million crypto owners and users as of April 2022. (Read more: PH Ranks 2nd in Chainalysis Crypto Adoption Report)

This article is published on BitPinas: Mastercard PH to Open Doors for Crypto Once Regulated

Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.

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