July 5, 2019 – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine Central Bank is not keen on launching its own cryptocurrency despite the announcement of Facebook’s launching of the Libra cryptocurrency.
In a statement to reporters, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said that Facebook’s Libra was discussed by various central bank leaders during the meeting of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Switzerland. He further added that the central bank leaders are divided on the issue.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is the international financial institution owned by central banks around the world. It is the Central Bank of all central banks and even provides banking services to them.
On the subject of launching Central Bank-issued stablecoins, BIS said it is supporting such initiatives. This is a large departure because as recently as March 2019, BIS chief Agustin Carstens said they do not see the value in a central bank digital currency.
Facebook, together with various companies and organizations, are launching Libra, a cryptocurrency that aims for financial inclusion across the social network’s more than 1 billion users. It is facing pushback from the US government, with the US Senate having a hearing about it this July. As per Mr. Diokno, it seems even leaders of the central banks around the world are not united on their opinion about it.
This is consistent with various reports that BIS has expressed concerns on the increasing role of technology companies when it comes to finance, something that the banks and the central banks have controlled for decades. In their report, BIS said individual data now controlled by the likes of Facebook and Google may pose a big threat to privacy and disadvantageous to banks. BIS is now working to create financial technology innovation hubs.
Last April 2019, the BSP reported that the Philippines has experienced a large increase in virtual currency transactions in 2018 compared to the previous year. This is despite the overall decline of the cryptocurrency market and the gradual shift to better forms of token offerings.
An independent reported gathered by BitPinas from user data at CoinDance also reveals bigger crypto transactions in the Philippines in 2018 vs 2017.
While the BSP said it is neither in favor or against cryptocurrency, arguing that they are open to innovation, Mr. Diokno said that ultimately the BSP’s responsibility is to the consumers. “Let’s give it another three to five years,” said Mr. Diokno.
The BSP is firm in advising the public in dealing only with licensed virtual currency exchanges for Peso (fiat) to crypto conversions and vice versa. Moreover, it recommends the public to only deal with licensed virtual currency ATMs while also reminding virtual currency ATM owners to register.
Some of the licensed virtual currency platforms include Coins.ph, Rebit.ph, Coinvil, and the newly approved Bitan Moneytech.
This article is first published on BitPinas: Philippine Central Bank Not Keen on Launching Own Crypto