Cryptocurrencies have transformed the financial sector by introducing new solutions to enduring obstacles, one of which includes stablecoins. These are a type of cryptocurrency that has the potential to boost financial inclusion and promote economic growth.
In the Philippines, there are already entities and institutions that have launched their own stablecoins, which we will talk about in this article.
This article is last updated on September 5, 2023.
What are Stablecoins?
Stablecoins are a category of cryptocurrencies tethered to a designated reference asset—It could be gold, a fiat currency, exchange-traded commodities, or another cryptocurrency.
Their primary characteristic is their deliberate aim to maintain a steady value, setting them apart from the volatility often associated with other cryptocurrencies. Given their reliability, stablecoins are commonly utilized for transactions and trading, offering a more dependable choice in contrast to their more unpredictable cryptocurrency counterparts.
Stablecoins are categorized into three types: fiat-backed, crypto-backed, and algorithmic.
- Fiat-backed stablecoins are pegged to a fiat currency, such as the US dollar or the euro. They maintain their peg by holding reserves of the corresponding fiat currency.
- Crypto-backed stablecoins are pegged to a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. They maintain their peg by holding reserves of the corresponding cryptocurrency.
- Algorithmic stablecoins are not pegged to any asset. They maintain their pegs through a combination of algorithms and economic incentives that adjust the supply and demand of the stablecoin according to market conditions.
PH Stablecoins: Peso-Backed Stablecoins in the Philippines
In 2019, the UnionBank of the Philippines launched the stablecoin PHX to facilitate cross-border remittance transactions on a blockchain. The move made UnionBank the first bank in the country to launch a stablecoin and conduct remittances via blockchain.
PHX, a stablecoin pegged to the Philippine peso, is used to facilitate blockchain-based transactions. It is still available to Project i2i participants, as per the last available news article about the project. During the launch, the bank expressed its plans to make PHX usable on various platforms and wallets globally.
Last year, UnionDigital Bank, a subsidiary of UnionBank in the Philippines, announced its plans to launch the Philippine Peso UnionDigital stablecoin (PHD).
The stablecoin, which is backed by the Philippine peso will have the ticker symbol “PHD.” It is expected to be available to all UnionDigital customers, as per the last report about this news.
In 2022, C Pass Inc. developed C Peso, a stablecoin pegged to the Philippine Peso, aimed at promoting cashless payments in Cebu City. This endeavor is part of a joint venture between C Pass Inc. and the Cebu City government, which began with a memorandum of understanding in April 2021.
In March, the issuer of the stablecoin obtained a license to operate its cryptocurrency send-and-receive services in Europe. Additionally, C-Pass also officially launched its digital wallet, which provides access to the C Peso. Currently, C PASS users in the Philippines and Europe can send, receive, and exchange various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, USDT, C PESO, and others.
The last update stated that C PASS is in the process of acquiring electronic money issuer licenses in both the Philippines and Europe and has engaged with Philippine Central Bank officials to obtain a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license.
Just this month, Direct Agent 5, Inc. (DA5), a prominent player in the remittance industry, and Gurufin, an advanced Layer-1 Hybrid Mainnet, announced a partnership to introduce PHMU stablecoin. PHMU will be backed by the Philippine Peso at a 1:1 ratio, providing a stable and secure cryptocurrency experience.
The firms stated that PHMU runs on its own Layer 1 blockchain, which guarantees consistent transaction costs without the volatility associated with gas fees. The stablecoin also has real-time verification capabilities and complies with legal frameworks and licensing, making it adaptable for various applications.
PHMU is set to launch within the DA5 and Gurufin ecosystems, beginning with the SurgePay Community Wallet and then expanding across DA5’s local branches.
Opinions on Stablecoins
Carlos Tapang, a veteran software design engineer, entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of RockStable, stablecoins can be compared to other cryptocurrencies, but it must be noted that they gain instant value by piggybacking on the value of existing money. He then wrote:
“The benefit is that this token is much easier and cheaper to transact with than CB (Central Bank) money. Why is it easier to deal with? Because it’s almost frictionless (but safe) in the internet, no third-party is involved. What is the benefit to the issuer? Short-term, the issuer is after your CB money. The issuer can profit from this backing (CB money) by investing it in ways that also preserve its liquidity.”Carlos Tapang, RockStable
In his paper in 2019, Atty. Rafael Padilla, Co-Founder and Trustee of BlockDevs Asia and Professor of Law at San Beda Alabang, explored the legal and regulatory aspects of stablecoins, particularly within the context of securities regulation, anti-money laundering (AML), and financial service licensing.
Padilla discussed the legal status of stablecoins, their potential classification as securities, the money laundering risks associated with them, and the licensing implications for stablecoin projects. He also highlighted key considerations and regulatory challenges faced by stablecoin issuers.
This article is published on BitPinas: An Overview of the Philippines’ Peso-Backed Stablecoins
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.