(Manila, Philippines) April 25, 2019 – The Philippine Central Bank confirms 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.
In a statement, Melchor Plabasan, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ OIC for Technology Risk and Innovation Department revealed that last year, $390 million worth of virtual currency transactions were recorded in the country. The previous record (2017) shows $189.18 million worth of transactions.
What constitutes a transaction according to the BSP?
- fiat to virtual currencies
- virtual currencies to fiat
- remittances facilitated through virtual currencies
The last reported number was in June 2018, when the BSP reported that during the first quarter of 2018, the record was $36 million per month (first quarter, 2018).
In an independent report, BitPinas used data from CoinDance, which tracks transaction volume in the Philippines facilitated through the website localbitcoins.com. The data there shows a surge in transactions as well between 2017 and 2018.
At this point, we should look at what is a virtual currency. By definition of the BSP, a virtual currency (VC) is a type of digital currency created by a community of online users, stored usually in electronic wallets, and generally transacted online. It may be centralized (one entity issues the VC) or decentralized (no central issuer).
According to BSP, cryptocurrency is a type of virtual currency.
In a report by the Philippine Star. Mr. Plabasan said the volume has actually declined by 6.5% despite the increase in the worth of transactions. He said this can be attributed to how users naturally behave:
“Small to medium crypto players tend to sell as soon as target profits are met (2017) while large value players hold longer but will immediately sell to secure their gains or protect their holdings when triggered by events such as the sudden decline in 2018.”
There are 10 approved virtual currency exchanges in the Philippines, including Coins.ph, Rebit.ph, VHCEX, PDAX, Bexpro, and Coinville. You can check out our list of licensed virtual currency exchange in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, while a company must have a license to operate an exchange, other types of operations like OTCs operating virtual currency ATMs must also be registered, said the BSP. However, it has given some of them, like the UnionBank of the Philippines, the go signal to proceed with the launch and operation of its own virtual currency ATM despite not having the license (as of March 2019).
The BSP license is different from the one issued by the Philippines’ Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). For the differences, check out this article. For a list of CEZA-licensed exchanges, please check this article as well.
This article originally appeared on BitPinas: BSP: Virtual Currency Transaction in the Philippines Doubles in 2018