June 1, 2021
Yesterday, BPI reportedly informed its customers that it was no longer going to allow them to buy cryptocurrencies via their debit, credit, or prepaid accounts. There’s no news coverage on this one, but I have multiple contacts (some high-net-worth and some normal retail) who have verified independently that this is indeed the case. If you have a BPI account and have recently received an email from them about this, please let me know in the comments!
It’s the Philippine crypto industry’s dirty little secret that even with all the regulations in place, and all of the hand-waving about financial inclusion and fair access, the country’s biggest banks remain extremely anti-crypto. What’s worse is that their positions have become MORE aggressively anti-crypto over the years, in direct contrast to the state of global regulation. It’s truly saddening to still be marginalized after all this time operating in the regulated space. (Same thing happening in India today: https://www.coindesk.com/rbi-says-banks-cant-quote-2018-circular-to-restrict-crypto-transactions …)
But hey, if you all don’t like how your bank is restricting your personal financial activities, then I recommend closing your account and moving your funds to Unionbank, Sterling Bank, and other banks who have a more open stance on crypto or are interested in supporting decentralized financial innovation. It’ll make trading a lot faster (not to mention zero-transfer fees!) if the local crypto community all use the same fiat institution, so get moving!
In what is probably the weirdest example of getting your wires crossed that I’ve seen recently, GCash ALSO yesterday published a press release talking about how they were exploring adding cryptocurrencies to their app. (https://www.philstar.com/business/2021/05/31/2101925/gcash-eyeing-cryptocurrency , https://bitpinas.com/cryptocurrency/gcash-crypto-globe-explores/ ) Given that one of GCash’s primary banking partners BPI just banned crypto, I’m not actually sure how this would even work. Maybe GCash is also planning to switch to Unionbank?
A few industry friends are interpreting the GCash article as merely an info-gathering exercise; they’re just using social media interest as a proxy for customer validation. Instead of hiring a market research firm, all they have to do is count the FB likes and shares on the article … so much cheaper! (And if that’s true, then congratulations to all of you who shared the article yesterday, you’re now part of the statistics.)
My good friend and former Coindesk chief Pete Rizzo published a thought-provoking opinion piece yesterday that describes something that many bitcoiners have undoubtedly sensed: Bitcoin bubbles aren’t technically bubbles, if it’s a consequence of the software design. Each major growth period for Bitcoin rather predictably follows a halving event, which was designed by Satoshi as a stimulus to generate more economic activity around it, at regular intervals. That’s precisely what happens every 4 years, and Bitcoin takes the rest of the cryptocurrency industry to new price levels along with it, each time. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterizzo/2021/03/04/the-bitcoin-bubble-myth/ )
With the US only just coming back to work from Memorial Day later this evening Manila time, there’s a big gap in trading energy in the markets today. $ETH did jump up over 15% in the last 12 hours, and across the board everyone seems optimistic about an eventual recovery.
See you all tomorrow, cryptofam!
This article is published originally as a Facebook post and republished with permission on BitPinas: Luis Buenaventura II: PH Crypto Industry’s Dirty Little Secret