Category Archives: Philippines

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Blockchain and IoT Tech to Revive Polluted River in the Philippines

Tackling environmental challenges is becoming a widely-acknowledged coupling with blockchain. Bitcoin News looked into how the government in the Philippines is tapping this potential to clear one of its most polluted rivers.

The list of novel blockchain innovations is growing. From financial services to the human genome, the technology is penetrating every facet of the modern world, and an emerging popular use is to save the environment.

River clear-up

The Pasig River Rehabilitation Council (PRRC), a state commission in charge of preserving the 27-kilometer long Pasig River, has partnered with CypherOdin, a blockchain startup with an environmental protection focus to save the river.

This is the first proof-of-concept (PoC) from the company, the Pasig River being an ideal candidate as it is one of the most polluted rivers in the Philippines.

In an interview with Cryptovest, CypherOdin and BOTcoin CEO Mariano Jose Diaz Villafuerte IV selected Pasig River after the government shutdown Boracay Island, which was to be its first “showcasing” of blockchain solving real-world problems.

He said, “So we looked at the Pasig River instead as the next most important body of water in the country.”

New technologies in tandem

CypherOdin will install Internet of Things (IoT) devices throughout the river, both above and below water level. Speaking with Bitcoin News, chief technical officer Andrew Margetts went into details of how this would work.

Margetts explained: “IoT Sensors will give us a real-time picture of the river, things such as nitrate levels, water flow speed, bacterial levels, objects in the water, microplastics levels and flora and fauna. This will enable us to have targeted clean-up efforts using the right tools and techniques, it’s a big problem to tackle so the insight makes it manageable.”

The CTO added that machine learning would analyze and categorize data to identify patterns, giving further insight into areas for improvement. The data would also allow for a “drone-based flora reclamation initiative” to run in areas where water had reached acceptable cleanliness levels.

The company will be utilizing drones with Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to map plastics in the riverbed.

It has more plans in the pipeline for the future of environmental protection in the Philippines. Margetts revealed, “We do have plans to work with both the private and public sector in tackling the waste problem in the Philippines, we already have high-level discussion[s] under way.”

Efforts to protect the planet through blockchain technologies are popping up everywhere. For example, Ben and Jerry’s and the UK city of Liverpool are using the tech to offset carbon emissions in a big way, and there are even eco-friendly projects that reduce the environmental impact of crypto-mining itself.

It appears as though blockchain and perhaps cryptocurrencies themselves are going to be informing the future of our planet. While these technologies are well within their early stages, the pace of progress is astounding, as is the cutting-edge quality of the innovations themselves.


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Philippine SEC Shares Draft ICO Regulations

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a report detailing the country’s proposed initial coin offering (ICO) regulatory guidelines.

The 37-page document released by the SEC reportedly comes after consultancy with several Philippine cryptocurrency companies, including Satoshi Citadel Industries and

The proposed rules would require Philippines-based startups and corporations to file applications with the SEC detailing the function of the tokens and the business operations of the company. Prior to receiving the go-ahead to hold an ICO, companies would be required to submit an initial assessment request that follows the rules of the Commission within 90 days before the beginning of the token pre-sale.

The white paper, including an operations manual detailing the system’s structure, must also be submitted, alongside the evaluation of an independent legal counsel in evidence that the tokens do not meet the requirements necessary to be registered as securities with the SEC. The proposal goes so far as to request source codes and commands in attempts to expose potential scammers.

Further to receiving approval, advisers and members of the company holding the ICO are required to undergo police clearances to show they are of ”good repute“. The report offers nine instances that a team member could disqualify the ICO, including if they are found to have made any false statements regarding the project during the process, or if they have ever been convicted of offenses including embezzlement, misappropriation, or perjury.

To combat any illicit activities of investors in the ICO, know-your-customer and anti-money laundering policies would be required from all participants.

Similarly to the US, the Philippine SEC highlights the importance of registering tokens as securities should they fall within the legal definition. As stated by US SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, tokens fall under the definition of securities if there is a ”reasonable expectation of profits to be derived from the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others“.


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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, Bloom Solutions, and Satoshi Citadel Industries. In particular, she praises the work of 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 to License 25 Cryptocurrency Companies

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority in the Philippines is drafting cryptocurrency regulations that will allow a maximum of 25 cryptocurrency companies to receive licenses to operate, although each company will be able to issue 20 to 30 sub-licenses for traders and brokers. These companies will be able to act as cryptocurrency exchanges, mine cryptocurrency, or conduct initial coin offerings (ICOs). Sixty cryptocurrency companies have already applied for licenses, so the selection process is expected to be highly competitive.

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority controls the Cagayan Special Economic Zone in the Philippines, which sits at a major international shipping lanes crossroads in the Pacific. It is a strategic location between the Pacific and the West Philippine Sea. The zone offers lower taxes than the rest of the Philippines in order to boost employment and trade and this could be quite beneficial for cryptocurrency companies.

The primary purpose of the regulations will be to protect cryptocurrency investors. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority will be especially strict on ICOs and will be determining whether they are backed by assets and legitimate. The CEO and administrator of the zone, Raul Lambino, says:

“There are many operating scammers who set up an exchange with very little capital and they are victimizing investors… We do not want the Philippines to be a haven for scammers even if these scams are happening abroad.”

Cryptocurrency companies that receive licenses to operate in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone will be required to invest PHP 53 million ( USD 1 million) within two years to stimulate the economy of the zone. Additionally, the companies will be required to have an office in the Philippines and must be registered with the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission.


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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 1st to 7th June 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.



Fujitsu starts blockchain-based reward points system: Japanese tech company Fujitsu has successfully rolled out a new blockchain-based system for its promotional campaigns like reward points and discount coupons according to a press release issued by the company last Wednesday.

According to the company, the system is going to be deployed across Japan to create awareness among merchants regarding its rewards program and how the promotional activities can be based on blockchain technology.

South Korea

Crypto margin trading to be treated as illegal gambling: The Cyber Crime Division of the South Korea government has declared that margin trading service in cryptocurrency exchanges that are on offer on most systems is equivalent to illegal gambling. The move comes after three Coinone executives involved in margin trading were reportedly close to being arrested because of margin trading.

The groundbreaking announcement was announced after problems arose in the margin trading business of Coinone, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea. In the exchange, users could borrow as much four times as their deposits in the cryptocurrency exchange and could make money or lose some depending on the behavior of the markets.

Supreme Court rules crypto as assets: In a groundbreaking move, the Supreme Court of South Korea has overturned the decision of a lower court and declared that Bitcoin is a recognizable asset. 

The move came after a notorious case last year in which a 33-year-old child pornography suspect was found to have BTC 216 but the government couldn’t confiscate them because the law didn’t recognize them as “tangible assets”.


Government calls for crypto mining equipment ban: The Vietnamese finance ministry has announced that it is proposing banning cryptocurrency mining equipment imports in the country according to government sources.

The latest proposal is seen as a step towards a blanket cryptocurrency ban in the country as the country treats all non-cash payments as illegal and Bitcoin is not yet recognized as cash.


Supervisory board signals green light for Bitcoin futures: The country’s top securities regulator Indonesian Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti) has finally designated cryptocurrencies as commodities and they are now available for trading in the future exchange according to latest reports from Coindesk.

The Bappebti was formed in 2005 to regulate the financial market in Indonesia. Jakarta Post posted the news that the governmental commission after an extensive four-month study cleared the way for Bitcoin futures trading in the country.


Government looking to blockchain for tax collection: The Philippines department of finance is looking towards blockchain technology for improving tax collection and business improvement initiatives according to latest reports from the Pacific nation.

Paolo Alvarez, the DOF spokesperson said:

“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.”

While this is vague, it may be seen as a positive development towards pursuing blockchain-based solutions.


Blockchain “checks” to combat fraud being developed by China central bank: Digital Currency Research Lab by Di Gang in People’s Bank of China has announced that is going to use a system capable of issuing blockchain-based checks to combat check-related frauds in the Chinese market.

The tech was the result of a year-long effort initiated by the Chinese government to decrease fraud in the country’s sprawling fintech setup. The country has been suffering from check-related fraud for some time because of a large number of intermediaries that issue checks and it is difficult to legitimize the entire operation.

State TV claims blockchain 10 times more valuable than internet: The Chinese government is banking a lot on the success and application of blockchain technology with the state-run CCTV channel saying that blockchain could be “ten times as valuable” than the internet.

In an hour-long panel in Chinese language by host Chen Weihong, the panelists, including private and public blockchain innovators, termed the technology as exciting and futuristic that will have a lot of worth in the future.

Baidu develops ‘SuperChain’: Baidu has announced the successful development of a new blockchain protocol called SuperChain. The protocol will allow diverse applications of the technology in the future.

Baidu has been at the forefront of the blockchain revolution in the country. It is one of the most popular platforms in the world as 76% of Chinese searches taking place through its search engine rather than Google.


Bitcoin as valuable as world’s most valuable currency, Brunei’s 10,000 dollar note: Brunei Darussalam is one of the richest countries in the world according to state wealth and as of right now with Bitcoin hovering around USD 7,420, the cryptocurrency’s unit worth is just about the same as the most expensive currency note: the 10,000 Brunei dollar bill issued first back in December 2006.

While Bitcoin has seen better days, even now the biggest cryptocurrency in the world is equal to the most expensive currency note. The total market cap is, however, less than the tiny East Asian nation’s riches.


Company loses $6.6 million in crypto: Australian company Byte Power Party has lost over USD 6.6 million worth of cryptocurrencies when a Singapore-based company Soar Labs tried to invest in it without actually paying for it.

The bizarre incident occurred when Soar Labs was found to have a backdoor in its contracts and reportedly froze the coins it had paid to the Byte Power company in exchange for buying 49% of their stake. When Byte Power started selling their coins, Soar found out and stopped the process through the backdoor. Soar will likely be facing criminal charges in the backdrop of this incident.


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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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