Category Archives: Ephyro Luis Amatong

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Philippines CB Gives Two New Exchanges the Go-Ahead as Crypto on the Rise

The Philippines Central bank is reported to have authorized two of the country’s banks to process conversions between cryptocurrencies and the Philippine peso.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) deputy governor Chuchi G. Fonacier has said that the bank has approved applications from the two exchanges, Virtual Currency Philippines, Inc. and ETranss as platforms according to Business World.

The Philippines now has five authorized crypto exchanges with the addition of the two new platforms with 29 other exchanges still awaiting regulators’ approval to commence trading.

The Bank’s deputy governor has revealed that there may be changes to future crypto exchange regulations which means that the financial regulator waives electronic money issuer (EMI) licenses, suggesting that “There are some refinements. This may entail additional requirement but not automatically an EMI license.”

Cryptocurrency trading in the Philippines is on the rise this year with the trading volume between crypto and the Phillippines peso averaging US$36.74 million per month in the first quarter of 2018.

Not only cryptocurrency but blockchain itself is becoming 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 attracting investments in the manufacturing sector. The Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, the US, and, more recently, South Korea, have been the top sources of investment in the Philippine SEZs.

SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong recently made comments which will offer those in the industry much hope for the future regarding cryptocurrency trading; 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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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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Philippines Looks to Blockchain for Tax Collection

A spokesperson for the Philippines Department of Finance (DoF) has confirmed that the country is looking into blockchain solutions for business improvements, including tax collection.

Blockchain opportunities

Paola Alvarez of the DoF spoke Monday about the country’s ambitions, saying, “Yes, of course, we are open to exploring blockchain. Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez is really pushing for the application of financial technology. He wants to harness fintech to improve business, for example, payment of taxes online.”

As reported by Cryptovest, the department noted that it was open to exploring the benefits of blockchain across a number of areas in addition to tax collection, including improving transparency, business efficiency and the reduction of illegal smuggling.

While Alvarez was confident in the departments intent to pursue blockchain solutions, she noted that the current lack of regulations from the Philippine central bank complicates their initiative.

For now, the DoF is offering a PHPay system to taxpayers and state clients where they can pay charges to government agencies through an online platform. The system was a described as a way to “cover the development of a payment gateway and a payment ledgering management system for the whole of government.”

Noting that the Philippines still had a ways to go to fully mastering blockchain, Alvarez said the department is taking their plans one step at a time, with an industry technical team already established to assist this.

Drafting blockchain legislation

In its pursuit of establishing itself as a blockchain-friendly destination, last month the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reached out to the countries blockchain and cryptocurrency community to assist in drafting industry regulations.

Talking to industry stakeholders, the SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong explained the government’s ambitions surrounding cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

“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. That is why your feedback and your cooperation are important so we can come up with an appropriate rule about cryptocurrency trading,” Amatong said.

 

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