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2 Years Late? Philippine National Police Warns vs Play-to-Earn Games

Philippine National Police Warns vs Play-to-Earn Games
  • The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) issued an advisory urging caution in play-to-earn (P2E) crypto games, highlighting their potential for earning cryptocurrencies and NFTs through in-game activities, along with security risks and high entry costs.
  • PNP ACG provided recommendations for engaging in crypto games, including researching cryptocurrencies before investing, being wary of fraudulent individuals and misleading links, and choosing reputable exchanges.
  • The advisory received mixed reactions from the crypto community due to outdated information about Axie Infinity’s prices, with some appreciating the initiative for awareness despite inaccuracies, while others criticized the timing of the publication during a bear market.

Two years after the hype of Axie Infinity in the country, the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) have recently issued an advisory to the public to be cautious in engaging in play-to-earn games. 

Advisory on P2E

According to the statement released by the police, they noted that crypto games enable players to earn cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFT) through in-game activities, with blockchain ensuring ownership and cross-game item usage. They stressed that unlike traditional games, they accept cryptocurrencies as payment and offer a “play-to-earn” model, where activities like battling and trading can yield profits. 

PNP highlighted that it also comes with high entry costs and security risks, such as scams and wallet vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals exploit this trend by using fake reward apps to steal cryptocurrency from victims who invest virtual money. 

“Because cryptocurrency is relatively new and not well-regulated, criminals are always looking to take advantage of crypto gamers via hacks and scams. Just because a game’s underlying blockchain is secure does not mean its engine or marketplace is secure. Digital wallets that store crypto gaming tokens can also be hacked or mishandled,” they concluded.

Accordingly, the PNP ACG also shared their recommendations for investors that would still engage in crypto games. The authorities stated that to comprehend the risks of cryptocurrency gaming schemes, the public should research cryptocurrencies before investing, remain cautious of fraudulent individuals and misleading links, and opt for reputable exchanges.

Community Reaction

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While the bulletin is all in good intentions, the crypto community cannot help but notice the outdated data about the popular game Axie Infinity particularly regarding the cost of the lowest-priced Axies at around $100 (approximately ₱5,600) each, suggesting a minimum investment of $300 (approx. ₱16,000) to start earning. The community noted that the current Axie prices are significantly different from these figures, making the investment barrier inaccurately portrayed.

“I guess I should point out that there is something wrong with the bulletin. The prices that they state are 95% off, indicating that they did their research about 15-16 months ago and only published today. Crypto is a fast paced industry and sharing information that is obsolete is almost as damaging as not sharing at all,” Luis Buenaventura, one of the crypto and NFT pioneers in the country, replied to a comment on his post

Another commenter, Carlo Centeno, also pointed out this inaccurate data noting that it is “major red flag” in the timing of publication.

“Bear market na nga, this even fuels more fear and uncertainty, it doesn’t help at all. Ok lang mag release ng bulletin, the intent is there, but the data will make it more confusing,” he added. 

Currently, the average price of Axies listed on the marketplace starts from $1.69 (around ₱95).

Axie Prices Aug 18 2023

Despite this, some people still commended the PNP ACG for its initiative, saying that it is better late than never.

“They acknowledged the good things about decentralization, crypto in general, and other stuff. It is not a direct attack to crypto saying that “crypto is bad”, “do not engage to crypto”, etc. it (is) a just a public warning,” Carl Rowan commented.

Play-to-Earn Gaming in PH

It is undeniable that Axie Infinity is indeed big in the Philippines, in fact the craze on web3 games and the play-to-earn money was even boosted in the country. Cabanatuan City of Nueva Ecija was even called Axie Capital of the Philippines after its residents were documented to have earned during the pandemic when most of them were left jobless.

During its hype, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), already warned the public involved in play-to-earn online gaming, regarding the illicit financial activities that may happen in the space.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also active in flagging entities posing as play-to-earn gaming platforms such as Gameloot and Outrace.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) also reminded financial institutions to do customer due diligence when dealing with crypto entities, especially banks and platforms that serve as payment channels for play-to-earn games.

However, just this year, the NFT trading volume decreased by 35% during Q2 2023–NFTs are one of the assets that are prominent in web3 games.

Last month, a new blockchain-powered betting site was released, it enables users to wager Binance USD (BUSD) tokens on live-streamed hamster races. The platform keeps 5% of bets, distributing 4% to HAMS token holders as engagement rewards. Although it is not entirely a play-to-earn game, it must be noted that the National Privacy Commission (NPC) recently cautioned the public against using gambling sites and apps that are not registered with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

This article is published on BitPinas: 2 Years Late? Philippine National Police Warns vs Play-to-Earn Games

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.

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