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CryptoPH Pioneer Bows Out| Weekly Crypto News Roundup June 19, 2023

Photo for the Article - CryptoPH Pioneer Bows Out| Weekly Crypto News Roundup June 19, 2023

BitPinas noted that the central bank recently updated its list of companies with Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASP) licenses in the country, prompting us to update our own list to include both past and present license holders. 

Here’s the top news:

  • Rebittance (SCI Ventures), a pioneer in the Philippine crypto industry, has shut down and returned its license to the central bank. This after the pandemic and a failed acquisition deal with FTX-tied Genesis Block.
  • XenRemit, a subsidiary of payment gateway Xendit, has obtained a crypto license.

Regulation and Policy

U.S. state regulators issues cease-and-desist order for Abra

Abra CEO Bill Barhydt in Manila Philippines (1)

In international news that could impact the Philippines, Abra has received a cease-and-desist order from the Texas State Securities Board.

  • The state regulator stated that Abra and its founder, Bill Barhydt, have misled the public and engaged in securities fraud.
  • The regulator also alleged that the company has been insolvent since March 31, 2023.

This matters to the Philippines because Abra maintains a presence here. As of the time of writing this article (June 19), Abra has 10 employees in the country according to LinkedIn, down from 11 the previous Friday. In the days of yore (meaning 2018), there were only three apps to get crypto using pesos – Coins.ph, BuyBitcoin.ph, and Abra.

As mentioned, BitPinas is the VASP watcher, and at that time, we wondered how Abra can facilitate buy and sell of crypto without a license. It was a bit hard to get any response from the company, but at one point, its customer support on Facebook told us:

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“Abra is not a financial services company in the Philippines. We provide a software interface into other third-party services and as such we are not regulated by the BSP. We will continue to monitor changes to laws to make sure we’re compliant with the latest regulations.”

Read our article: Abra Suspends Retail Services in the U.S. Amid Fraud Allegations

Industry Developments

Pioneer licensed crypto exchange returns license to the BSP

Photo for the Article - CryptoPH Pioneer Bows Out| Weekly Crypto News Roundup June 19, 2023

Rebittance, the subsidiary of SCI Ventures that is holder of one of the first two VASP license in the Philippines, has shut down.

When I first started writing about crypto in the Philippines in 2017, what I did was map out every person connected to SCI Ventures, and from there I found out the who’s who, as well as all the other companies in the Crypto PH scene of that era. 

So to write about this is like writing the end of an era, so to say. But what led to this in the first place?

  • By 2019, SCI found itself competing with Coins.ph (which was freshly acquired by Go-Jek), a new crypto exchange named PDAX, and Bloom, which is led by Luis Buenaventura.
  • You already know what happened in 2020.
  • SCI co-founder Miguel Cuneta told me that by 2021, they have began talks with Genesis Block, a well-established crypto trading firm in Hong Kong. Genesis Block is highly respected with a decade of operation in Hong Kong’s bustling crypto corridor. It has ties to FTX, which in 2021 was a reputable crypto exchange.
  • By 2022, discussions were ongoing. However, when the wrongdoings of the FTX co-founder came to light, it had a negative impact on the entire crypto industry, and Genesis Block was not exempt from these repercussions.

And so by 2023, Cuneta said discussions did not get finalized and since SCI is not operating, it opted to return its license to the BSP instead of continuing to pay for it.

Cuneta said he is now an investor and advisor to crypto and web3 firms. While co-founders of SCI, Jardine Gerodias and John Bailon, remain active in the scene, having co-founded Stanible, a local NFT app currently gaining popularity for its NFT ticketing services.

BSP updates VASP list, adds Xendit subsidiary

According to the latest update from the BSP, XenRemit is the newest VASP licensee.

  • It is a subsidiary of payment gateway Xendit. 
  • Xendit Philippines counts Yang Yang Zhang as co-founder. Previously, Zhang co-founded PDAX alongside CEO Nichel Gaba and Krystian Kucharzyk.

Since Maya already has a license, and GCash is not going to pursue getting one, there are now only two ways for this list to get more interesting. 

  • The addition of Binance.
  • The inclusion of other established players like Grab. (Is this even on their radar?)

More News: Crypto and Blockchain

More News: Web3 and NFTs

  • Scarletbox is set to launch the first NFT collection of Fete de la Musique, as announced during the media launch of ‘MerSea: The 29th Edition of Fete de la Musique in the Philippines. 
  • Tambay Collection now available on Mintoo of PDAX.
  • Get ready for the upcoming Bull or Bear Debate in Cebu next month.
  • BreederDAO: AI skins now live.
  • BlockchainSpace has entered into a partnership with Ravex Guild, a sub-guild of the Real Deal Guild.
  • Coins.ph hosted GensoKishi night community event.
  • Coins.ph: Decentralized metaverse Suzuverse is coming to Coins Arcade.
  • BayaniChain CEO, Paul Soliman, delivered a keynote speech on the possibilities of AI and blockchain in Cebu.
  • Web3 MMORPG Metacene has entered into a partnership with BreederDAO.
  • Bitskwela hosted Brushes and Pixels debate.

This week in AI

Photo for the Article - CryptoPH Pioneer Bows Out| Weekly Crypto News Roundup June 19, 2023

Feature: SEC in Action

Things to Note: NFT

Upcoming events and activities:

  • Upcoming Twitter Space with Unlockd and People’s Telco.
  • Xave: Enabling 10x Improved Real Time Remittance and Consumer Savings.

For more on the latest news on cryptocurrency in the Philippines, always check out BitPinas: 

This article, ‘CryptoPH Pioneer Bows Out| Weekly Crypto News Roundup June 19, 2023’, is published on BitPinas. 

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.