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Philippines Fast Becoming Asia’s Blockchain Hotspot and Testing Ground

Global business head of ConsenSys in Asia, Aiai Garcia, sees the Philippines as the next tech hotspot in Asia and a home for future blockchain sandboxes, writes Cryptovest.

Blockchain is a fast-growing industry in the south-east Asian country with a regulator-friendly background and the Philippines has long been a magnet to foreign investment, as illustrated by its Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

The Philippines started developing these zones in the mid-1990s in order to promote investment, including foreign direct investment (FDI). Over the past 22 years, Philippine SEZs have become an innovative home for FDI, especially in attracting manufacturing investment. The Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, the US, and, more recently, South Korea, have been the top sources of investment in the Philippine SEZs.

The largest of the zones, Cagayan Economic Zone, has plans to build a blockchain and fintech university on site to generate a pool of skilled professionals offering employment opportunities with new companies that set up there in the future.

So rapid is the development of blockchain services in the country, it has encouraged Garcia to predict it will become the future tech sandbox in Asia.

“This is indeed a very exciting time for the Philippines blockchain industry. There are plenty of exciting projects, and the good thing is that all the regulators we’ve talked with or are talking to are also excited about the technology and looking for ways to adopt and use blockchain to improve the current system,” said Garcia.

The blockchain buzz in the country also extends to government level with the Department of Finance (DoF), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), all integrating blockchain solutions into their programs.

Regarding cryptocurrencies, Garcia pays tribute to an open-minded approach shown by the country’s Central Bank and companies such as Coins.ph, Bloom Solutions, and Satoshi Citadel Industries. In particular, she praises the work of Coins.ph which she says “provides 1.5 million Filipinos alternative access to their finances and other value-added services”, adding that Filipino regulators were also among the first to announce the regulation of Bitcoin as security.

SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong recently made comments which will offer those in the industry much hope for the future; views which are slowly become more frequently expressed by government departments and regulators globally:

“The government wants to be proactive in creating rules about cryptocurrency. We want to engage all the stakeholders by asking for your feedback. We don’t want to ban anything just because we don’t understand something…”

 

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