Cryptocurrency use has tripled in the Philippines, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on October 24, 2017.
Speaking at the 12th PH Forum of the Asset at a hotel in Pasay City, BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr said that instead of prohibiting the use of cryptocurrency, they chose to engage the industry instead.
So we agree to a suitable environment. As for the Bangko Sentral itself considering cryptocurrency? That’s an experiment but we are not yet there. There’s a lot of experimentation going on in some countries. We’d like to see first how that works. So in a way, it’s cautious but it’s also not prohibiting – BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr.
Wait and See Approach
With that, the BSP is still on a wait and see approach. Espenilla admitted observing the experiments in other countries’ central banks with cryptcoins before trying them out here. While cryptocurrency can facilitate faster transactions, he noted how it can be used for fraudulent transactions.
That’s the reason why the BSP set up guidelines for Bitcoin exchange services in the Philippines to follow. Among them are consumer identification, verification, protection management and AML commitments.
In reality, according to Espenilla, what they are actually regulating is the exchange – that point when the virtual currency such as bitcoin is converted into real money.
What the BSP is trying to regulate is the exchange, when you convert a cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, into the equivalent of normal money, that’s the point that it touches the real world. That’s really where we have put in place controls, such as money-laundering controls, so that it’s more visible and we can understand what’s happening.
With Bitcoin reaching all-time highs in recent weeks, it’s only natural that many Filipinos are becoming more interested in cryptocurrency. In fact, we made up the 2nd biggest group to participate in a recently concluded ICO. Will this trend continue? The stage is set for the upcoming Segwit2X fork and whether that will have a large effect on bitcoin’s value or not.