Category Archives: Philippines

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Offline SMS Crypto Transactions Expand to Philippines

Offline Crypto

Offline crypto transactions are now available in the Philippines as well after recording considerable success in Latin America and other parts of the world. One of the more successful offline crypto transaction companies, CoinText, has expanded to the Asian country and it enables its customers to send and receive cryptocurrency offline, through text messages. Right now, only Bitcoin Cash ABC (BCH) is available on this service.

It has been reported that the Philippines-based crypto companies are working to have legal backup. In the next few weeks, the authorities would be focusing on the legalization of the cryptocurrency exchanges. This move would allow the service providers to operate more smoothly.

The new wallet company claims to operate offline, allowing the users to send BCH to the phone numbers directly. On the other hand, the BCH addresses can also be exchanged offline. This provides a blockchain-based dedicated SMS communication gateway.

The CoinText service does not require the users to sign up for an exchange, save passwords or private keys. Furthermore, the user may not even have to own a smartphone and can even utilize their old mobile phones as well.

CTO and founder Vin Armani stated in an interview that the service was custom designed for the people of the Philippines. He added that remittances are a huge chunk of the economy and that the Philippines.

CoinText has already been adopted in many other countries as well, including, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey, Argentina, Hong Kong, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. Moreover, it recently announced its launch in Brazil. Other competitors of CoinText include Dash Text, a Dash-based service that is also becoming popular around the world especially in Latin America and Africa.

The SMS based crypto technology is particularly useful in remote areas where the internet facilities are limited or too expensive. A recent example is that of Venezuela, where the unfortunate circumstances have pushed the public to adapt to the cryptocurrency. Ultimately, leading to the birth of Dash Text, which is an offline payment method using Dash, one of the most accepted payment methods in Venezuela.

 

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Chile Looks to Incorruptible Tax Collection Using DLT

Chile Looks to Incorruptible Tax Collection Using DLT

Chile’s Treasury Department is looking to blockchain technology in order to streamline its tax collection programme.

The Chilean Government has taken this step due to losses incurred over time in the process of collecting taxes. The new programme under consideration would use DLT to create an incorruptible automatic quadrature system hosting multiple nodes.

The current system has resulted in losses in revenues at the end of each month as the Treasury Department shares information with three other organizations which adds further complexity. The new blockchain based measures will ensure that collected taxes will be redirected to the municipality through the banking system. Any interference in this process will be detected and rejected as all client information will be stored in incorruptible nodes.

Ximena Hernández, the Treasurer of General Treasury of the Republic stated that greater effectiveness and efficiency was the aim of the new updated DLT measures. He said:

“Nowadays the Digital Transformation will allow us to be much more efficient, more effective, to have greater proximity to our taxpayers and thus also to our own users. We will be able to give a better service.”

Both the Philippines and Thailand have integrated DLT solutions into their tax collection programmes over the past months. In the UK, member of parliament Eddie Hughes, an outspoken promoter of blockchain and cryptocurrency, has raised eyebrows among his more conservative peers and suggested that citizens should be given the option to pay their council taxes to local authorities in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether.

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Philippines Regulator Delays ICO Regulations Once Again

Phillipines regulator delays ICO rules (1)

The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (PSEC) has once again delayed the much-awaited regulations for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in the country. According to The Phillippine Star, a local English daily, the ICO regulations have been postponed even though the government had agreed to release them by the end of 2018.

According to the PSEC itself, the regulator is working with different stakeholders and needs more time to draft a new set of regulations for the industry. The body also hinted once that ICOs may be designated as securities and therefore must be approved by them.

But, the regulator has also shown flexibility in other matters and stated that the sale of tokens to less than 20 people or entities in one year, sales to banks and investment agencies as well as pension funds can be exempted from registration.

Perhaps it is due to this indecisive attitude that the regulator is facing difficulties in reaching a consensus on the new rules. According to Emil Aquino, president of the PSEC, the sector has its benefits and banning them like China is not the best solution to the problem. The government has also allowed more than 10 blockchain companies to set up their offices in the special economic zone Cagayan. Three cryptocurrency exchanges have already been granted licenses to operate in the country.

But, much clarity is still needed in the ICO sector as most countries frown upon them due to their lack of control on them as well as fears of money laundering activities taking place in the garb of ICOs. The Philippines crypto sector will continue to wait for the new rules before determining the future course of action.

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Manila Residents Paid ETH for Consensys-Backed Beach Cleanup

beach cleanup

Manila residents are being paid in Ether for cleaning up the city’s plastic-ridden beaches in a new crypto for work project in the Philippine capital.

Recent research has shown that that five Asian countries — China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand — account for more than 55% of global plastic waste leaking into the ocean. Indonesia, currently participating in a number of blockchain programs, is also a significant contributor to ocean pollution.

Manila’s beaches are listed as being some of the most heavily polluted beaches among these nations. Residents now have the chance to do something about this and be rewarded with cryptocurrency in the process. Stirring this social conscience is Ethereum’s co-founder Joe Lubin, who is also CEO of blockchain software giant ConsenSys.

He commented, “In Manila, participants will be paid in ETH for spending a few hours cleaning up one of the most heavily polluted beaches in the world. Bounties Network and ConsenSys Impact are proving a new model where people fund causes directly without intermediaries.”

Beach cleaning participants will be able to use a decentralized application (Dapp) based on the Ethereum blockchain to receive their rewards in ETH. The project is part of a larger ConsenSys program called ‘Bounties for the Oceans: Philippines Pilot – Sustained, Verifiable Plastic Cleanups’. The initiative states:

“Plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year… With Bounties for the Ocean, we are asking people everywhere to submit verifiable proof of their direct plastic cleanup contribution as a way of fostering widespread and long-term behavioral shift. Do not depend on centralized organizations, go out there and do it yourselves.”

Manila residents are not the only ones “doing it for themselves”. There are a number of blockchain programs around the world at the moment which are making a significant contribution to fighting pollution.

US cleaning supplies firm SC Johnson has announced that it plans to launch blockchain rewards-based recycling centers in Indonesia to help solve the problem of plastic pollution. The company, which also which owns such brands as Glade, Ziploc and Mr Muscle, will open eight centers with the support of Plastic Bank using a tokens-for-waste payment system for local users.

A Norwegian startup has come up with a way of using blockchain to clean beaches via token rewards for recycling. The public, by removing plastic waste to any certified recycling station, is rewarded with waste tokens. The idea draws on a system that has been in operation for some time throughout Norway where plastic bottles can be returned to shops for between 15 and 30 cents a bottle.

The Philippines project is well placed given the country’s adoption of Bitcoin and Ethereum as legitimate forms of payment by the central bank, with local platform Coins.ph conducting business using partnerships with major commercial banks, remittance outlets, credit card companies, electric grid operators, and convenience stores,

Having become the largest platform in Southeast Asia, Coins.ph has over 5 million users.

 

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Philippines Announces Blockchain Upgrade for Procurement, Space Tracking and Public Input Possibly Next

The Philippines Budget secretary has announced that the country is to begin using blockchain in its procurement and tracking activities as a fight against corruption. At the same time, ongoing efforts for blockchain application are being considered for tracking from space, as well as public cooperation.

The country already has an advanced government procurement portal called PhilGEPS which is currently undergoing an upgrade, although the development stage has been harried by supplier delays.

Speaking of the plans for blockchain, the Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno has made it clear of where he wants to focus on the implementation of new technology such as blockchain although there is currently a budget restriction which will delay the release of new projects.

“We’re going to use it for our warehousing,” he said. “I’m the head of the procurement service. I buy subways, I buy aircraft. A blockchain system for tracking this will be secure and less expensive compared to a big data system.”

Another project the government has been looking is the concept of tracking objects from space where satellite images are uploaded online then enabling citizens to actually monitor the progress and comment back to government. The proposed idea called Project DIME (Digital Imagery Monitoring and Evaluation) would involve drones and satellites monitoring ongoing works across some of the country’s 7,200 islands and more remote mountain regions.

Another development between the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the United Nations Development Programme has been named DevLIve, enabling a significant input of public cooperation and reporting. According to Diokno, this is in the process of being introduced. He explained DevLIve: “You download an app and then you can actually report to the central ministry, and also to my department and to the Senate and the House simultaneously. We plan to use it more widely in the next few years.”

However, it is unclear just how readily the public will take to becoming involved as non-paid civil servants.

The secretary also wants to see a situation where the private sector makes competitive bids for all public sector tenders via an online platform, which will add much-needed transparency to new projects. With this enhanced degree of monitoring, and with the absence of the old system of negotiated bids he feels that corruption can be minimized across the sector.

 

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Manny Pacquiao Hangs Up Gloves for Politics, Crypto

It is becoming well known among the crypto community that endorsements and new startups involving celebrities from music and sport are on the rise, but this time it’s an odd combination of ex-boxer newly-turned politician who’s dipped into cryptocurrency.

Enter Philippines Senator and one-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao who is to make a gloves-off fighting appearance for crypto at the upcoming Blockchain Fair Asia event to be held in his home country.

In March, not simply happy with procuring ex-England and Liverpool footballer Michael Owen, Singapore-based Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX), scored another goal,  this time signing a boxer to promote the exchange. Since then, Pacquiao has gone on to launch his own PAC Coin and plans to promote the coin at the event in Manila, very much in keeping his government’s own approach to cryptocurrency, which has largely been supportive.

Since 2016, the ex-boxer has been serving as a member of the Philippines House of Representatives. As a member of the Senate, he would recognize that blockchain is becoming a fast-growing industry in the Southeast Asian country with a regulator-friendly background. The Philippines has long been a magnet to foreign investment, as illustrated by its construction of Special Economic Zones (SEZ).

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.

Global business head of ConsenSys in Asia, Aiai Garcia, sees the Philippines as the next tech sandbox in Asia, suggesting:

“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.”

Pacquiao’s investment in GCOX has, in turn, has given him the possibility to create the new coin. The platform is supported by a number of other celebrities who have also created their own tradable tokens, building on their previous popularity in the world of sport or music.

 

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Philippines Finalizing Crypto Exchange and ICO Regulations

New trading rules and regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges in the Philippines will soon be released by the nation’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Finalized rules

Over the past few months, media coverage of blockchain developments in the Philippines has been emerging at a steady and positive pace. Most recently, local news outlet The Manila Times reported that the SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong had revealed that the new rules are going to be published “by the end of next week”.

He added that the Virtual Currency Exchange (VCE) rules of Australia and Switzerland were being examined as potential templates for the regulations. Furthermore, the SEC will be partnering with Philippine central bank Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), in order to develop and enforce VCE regulations.

Amatong Said, “We see the need to regulate them as trading platforms,” adding, “We already discussed the matter with the BSP since the BSP is also interested and we are also interested. The discussion… [involves] joint cooperative oversight over VCEs engaged in trading.”

Earlier developments

In May, the SEC reached out to its domestic cryptocurrency community seeking counsel and feedback regarding cryptocurrency trading regulations. At this time, Amatong told stakeholders that the government wishes to be proactive in their approach, and desired appropriate rules to be generated from discussion and feedback, saying at the time, “We don’t want to ban anything just because we don’t understand something.”

Earlier this year in April, ten cryptocurrency exchanges and blockchain enterprises were licensed to operate in the Cagayan Economic Zone, one of a number of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that have been in place since the 1990’s to promote investment and attract foreign investment; the exchanges from Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Korea had been officially permitted to enter into crypto mining, initial coin offerings (ICOs) or operate as exchanges.

By July, efforts to introduce blockchain innovation and enterprise on a larger scale were beginning to come to fruition. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority had revealed that it was drafting regulations that allowed for a maximum of 25 cryptocurrency companies to be granted the license to operate in the SEZ.

Also within this SEZ, there are plans to build a blockchain and fintech university on site, which is a display of confidence in the technology on part of the government. Furthermore, it was reported that numerous government-level organizations such as the Department of Finance (DoF) and SEC were beginning to implement blockchain solutions.

Most recently, the SEC released a 37-page draft ICO regulation report after consulting with numerous domestic cryptocurrency companies; this draft will be soon taking its final form and will be telling of the future role of the Philippines in the global blockchain community.

 

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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 Coins.ph.

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 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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