Philippines keeping a close eye on Bitcoin

Philippines keeping a close eye on Bitcoin
Last year was definitely one for the books when it came to bitcoin. Not only did it increase in popularity and awareness, it’s price surges were nothing short of spectacular. Going from just under $1k to trading at nearly $20k in less than a year is no small feat.
It has also established itself as a desirable financial asset, in part thanks to futures trading initiatives launched by CME and CBOE. It also has the support of other well-established financial institutions such as Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. It does seem that Bitcoin is on its way to becoming a global currency, which is exactly what the Philippines feels that it should be referred as when being used to conduct transactions such as payments and remittances.
A senior official at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said that while the bank was “accepting” of cryptocurrencies, the bank was:
“[A]t the same time, providing advisories to the general public that they have to be conscious of the opaqueness of transactions involving Bitcoins. This is something we should think about very closely.”
Bitcoin adoption has been steadily increasing in the country, growing by millions of dollars over the past three years. Transactions amounted to $2 million in 2015, $6 million in 2016 and $8.8 million last year. This growth resulted in the bank issuing Bitcoin regulations early last year, which the bank’s co-deputy director, Melchor Plabasan, referred to as “a pioneering regulation”, and also stated that “we see it [Bitcoin] as a payment and remittance [tool rather than an investment asset]”. The bank is currently reviewing 12 new crypto exchange applications.
The bank’s senior official went on to discuss a few of the benefits that Bitcoin has to offer:
“It’s like any other monetary instrument [and even] an investment instrument. There are risks but essentially, it can be managed. If you want something that is fast, near real-time and convenient then there’s the benefit of using virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
The bank had previously issued licenses to two companies, Rebit Inc and Betur, who both offer Bitcoin remittance services.
This year should see many other countries also develop and implement their own regulations and framework with regard to crypto trading. Russia and China are taking an aggressive stance to try and controlcryptocurrencies, while South Korea has a plan to issue regulations to apparently foster mainstream adoption and integration.

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