BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)

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The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Director Leah Irao advised Filipinos to be cautious with “cryptocurrency based games,” reminding the public not to risk money on things unfamiliar to them. 

In a report from Unbox.ph referencing the YouTube video of “Kaasenso with Gerard and Mitch,” the Deputy Director of Payments System Oversight confirmed that the central bank is “monitoring” the highly popular NFT game called Axie Infinity. The report also said the BSP currently has no specific guidance about the game, but it reminded the public to only transact with registered entities. Finally, the latter half of the report proceeded into the topic on Lyka Gems, which recently received  a cease and desist order from the central bank. 

In the YouTube video (below), when asked how the BSP has become aware of Axie Infinity, Deputy Director Irao answered that it’s because of media inquiries and requests the BSP received asking about the game.

Registered Entities

There are 17 of these licensed entities called “virtual assets services providers or VASPs” which are cleared by the BSP to facilitate the trading of crypto into PHP and vice versa.. Among them, BloomX facilitates direct trading of SLP,  the crypto earned when playing Axie Infinity, into PHP.  Local exchanges like PDAX and Coins.ph (in addition to BloomX) also facilitate trading of Php to ETH, the crypto used to buy Axies. Binance has recently allowed direct trading of SLP to PHP via peer-to-peer (P2P), meaning both parties can use Binance’s escrow system to trade amongst themselves (meaning Binance is not touching the PHP in the transaction.)

The Axie Infinity Phenomenon in the Philippines

Recent report suggests that the majority of Axie Infinity players are in the Philippines. In a newsletter, Luis Buenaventura, co-founder of BloomX estimates that roughly Php 2 billion are remitted to the Philippines via trading of SLP to Php.  “To put that into perspective: 2 billion pesos is the average amount of remittances that ALL the OFWs living in Hong Kong send back home to the Philippines each month. But there are 800,000 of them stationed there! And don’t even get me started on how exploitative their living conditions are. Meanwhile, these Axie gamers are playing from their own bedrooms 3-4 hours a day, and making 4x as much. (Not to mention that they’re spending their money here, bolstering the local economy.)”

In the Philippines, More People are Searching for Axie Infinity than DeFi, Ethereum

In an op-ed on Coindesk, Leah Callon-Butler, Director of consulting firm Emfarsis writes, “Let’s be conservative and assume the average Axie player earns about 150 SLP daily. If SLP is trading at $0.20, and there are one million Filipino DAU, that would bring in US$10.8 billion annually. This is totally conceivable when you think of it as less than 1% user adoption in a country with a populace of 111 million, or if you think of it as a slice of the total revenue that could be generated by play-to-earn as a sector.”

Is Axie a Scam? BloomX Co-Founder Doesn’t Think So

In another newsletter, Luis said that while he doesn’t think Axie Infinity is a ponzi scheme, there are valid concerns that the BSP or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would go after the game. (The SEC recently launched its Philfintech Innovation Office, to become the Commission’s first point of contact with licensed and unlicensed fintech entities so they can understand their business models and formulate recommendations or actions if needed.)

Luis said it’s possible to make some predictions based on how the local regulators has dealth with crypto projects in the past. He mentioned that Axie not being a payments system and Sky Mavis, the developer of the game, not directly soliciting gamers to invest would mean the game would not be asked to stop operations on the same grounds as Lyka, which the BSP thinks is an operator of payments services. “This is a critical distinction that puts it outside of the BSP jurisdiction, because the game platform itself doesn’t engage in the conversion of peso to crypto, and only accepts payments within its own ecosystem,” said Luis. “So if the government does go after Axie, it will [likely be] for different reasons,” he continued, while at the same time inviting the community to start thinking about a situation as the above.

A documentary by Emfarsis, Yield Guild Games, and Delphi Digital highlighted how gamers (and non-gamers) in Cabanatuan City survived the lockdown by earning a living through playing Axie Infinity.

This article is published on BitPinas: BSP Deputy Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games

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[…] Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Director Leah Irao to be cautious with “cryptocurrency based games,” reminding the public not to risk money on unfamiliar things and to only transact with registered entities. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Director Leah Irao to be cautious with “cryptocurrency based games,” reminding the public not to risk money on unfamiliar things and to only transact with registered entities. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Director Leah Irao to be cautious with “cryptocurrency primarily based video games,” reminding the general public to not danger cash on unfamiliar issues and to solely transact with registered entities. (Learn Extra: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Director Leah Irao to be cautious with “cryptocurrency based games,” reminding the public not to risk money on unfamiliar things and to only transact with registered entities. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] In a previous interview, BSP Deputy Director Leah Irao said the central bank is looking into Axie Infinity but has no specific guidance about the game. She did, however, remind the public to transact only with registered entities. The Deputy Director also disclosed that the BSP has become aware of Axie Infinity because of media inquiries and requests that the central bank has received about the game. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] In a previous interview, BSP Deputy Director Leah Irao said the central bank is looking into Axie Infinity but has no specific guidance about the game. She did, however, remind the public to transact only with registered entities. The Deputy Director also disclosed that the BSP has become aware of Axie Infinity because of media inquiries and requests that the central bank has received about the game. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] In a previous interview, BSP Deputy Director Leah Irao said the central bank is looking into Axie Infinity but has no specific guidance about the game. She did, however, remind the public to transact only with registered entities. The Deputy Director also disclosed that the BSP has become aware of Axie Infinity because of media inquiries and requests that the central bank has received about the game. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] In a earlier interview, BSP Deputy Director Leah Irao stated the central financial institution is wanting into Axie Infinity however has no particular steerage concerning the recreation. She did, nevertheless, remind the general public to transact solely with registered entities. The Deputy Director additionally disclosed that the BSP has change into conscious of Axie Infinity due to media inquiries and requests that the central financial institution has obtained concerning the recreation. (Learn Extra: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] In a previous interview, BSP Deputy Director Leah Irao said the central bank is looking into Axie Infinity but has no specific guidance about the game. She did, however, remind the public to transact only with registered entities. The Deputy Director also disclosed that the BSP has become aware of Axie Infinity because of media inquiries and requests that the central bank has received about the game. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] In a previous interview, BSP Deputy Director Leah Irao said the central bank is looking into Axie Infinity but has no specific guidance about the game. She did, however, remind the public to transact only with registered entities. The Deputy Director also disclosed that the BSP has become aware of Axie Infinity because of media inquiries and requests that the central bank has received about the game. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] Likewise, the BSP is undertaking policy initiatives to amend its E-Money and Technology Outsourcing Circulars, and formalize the BSP’s test-and-learn approach or regulatory sandbox to recalibrate, and fortify its existing policies. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] Likewise, the BSP is undertaking policy initiatives to amend its E-Money and Technology Outsourcing Circulars, and formalize the BSP’s test-and-learn approach or regulatory sandbox to recalibrate, and fortify its existing policies. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] Likewise, the BSP is undertaking policy initiatives to amend its E-Money and Technology Outsourcing Circulars, and formalize the BSP’s test-and-learn approach or regulatory sandbox to recalibrate, and fortify its existing policies. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

[…] Likewise, the BSP is undertaking policy initiatives to amend its E-Money and Technology Outsourcing Circulars, and formalize the BSP’s test-and-learn approach or regulatory sandbox to recalibrate, and fortify its existing policies. (Read More: BSP Director: No Specific Guidance on NFT Games (Report)) […]

Michael Mislos

A business ad graduate from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Mike is the website manager of Bitpinas.com. He is responsible for almost every content you see on the site, from topic/news selection to editing of articles. Mike believes correct information about blockchain and cryptocurrency can empower people to make accurate decisions about the industry, which, in turn, should deter bad actors from taking advantage of crypto & blockchain. [Telegram @mikemislos]