Category Archives: the Philippines

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Why Crypto is Booming in the Philippines

Why Crypto is Booming in the Philippines

The Philippines is having a moment with cryptocurrency, which largely can be attributed to the country’s own political leadership.

A combination of the Filipino government and the central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), have a lot to do with the growing pro-Bitcoin sentiment in the Asian country. Indeed, for the nation’s authorities, cryptocurrency may well prove to be a way to modernize digital payment systems, fitting in well with the schemes already established.

Bitcoin trading volumes have increased

Data shows that Bitcoin’s trading volume on LocalBitcoins has increased significantly, with the predominant turning point back in December 2017 in the heat of the bull run. Trading volumes have continued to rise since then, showing a weak but definite correlation with the cryptocurrency’s price.

The week claiming the highest trading volume commenced 15 September 2018 when Bitcoin benefited from a two-day market surge, reaching USD 6,400.

While transactions in the last few months have slowed down on LocalBitcoins, this is most likely because there are now more authorized cryptocurrency exchanges for Filipino’s to use.

Crypto fits in with the government’s fintech scheme

Providing a solid regulatory framework for cryptocurrency seems to be key for the Filipino government as part of its larger plan to modernize the nation’s digital payment systems. Governor of BSP, Benjamin Dioknoof, recently noted that the 2016 National Payment Systems Act “bolsters the central bank’s capacity to foster the efficiency of payment systems as pipelines of funds in the financial market.”

Vice president and senior credit officer with Moody’s Sovereign Risk Group in Singapore, Christian de Guzman, commented on the Filipino government’s approach towards cryptocurrency, saying that regulation efforts are part of a wider attempt to facilitate electronic payments. ”I think that’s a key point,” he added.

The number of regulated exchanges is growing

Last week the tenth cryptocurrency exchange in the Philippines was granted approval to operate by BSP. The most recent group of approved exchanges include Bexpress Inc., Coinvillel Phils Inc., and Aba Global Philippines Inc.

But cryptocurrency exchanges can operate legally in the Philippines without the green light from the central bank by obtaining an offshore license from the government-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza). With Ceza-approved exchanges counted, this brings the total up to 29 legally operational cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

The itch to join in with the cryptocurrency action has been felt by the mainstream banking sector; one of the largest banks in the country, Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP), has even installed a Bitcoin ATM machine at one of its main branches, receiving permission from BSP to do so. All you need to use the machine is a UBP account and a Bitcoin wallet.

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US Firm Chooses Token-Based Solution to Clean Up Indonesia’s Plastic Waste

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.

Plastic Bank was the featured in the award-winning documentary A Plastic Ocean. They received the prestigious Sustainia Community Award at COP21, the Beacon For Change Award at COP23, the RCBC Innovation Award. Recently, their new blockchain exchange and incentives platform received an IBM Beacon Award.

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

The first disposal center opened this week on 28 October on the Indonesian Island of Bali. They allow users to exchange plastic waste for digital tokens which can then be used to purchase goods and services. SC Johnson suggested that the risk of loss or theft of funds will be limited due to the tokens being supported by blockchain.

The founder of Plastic Bank, David Katz, suggests that blockchain is the tool that can combat ocean pollution with such innovations, and the new project could also reduce poverty in Indonesia. Another decentralized program, in this case run by the UN, has had huge success in Jordan over the past two years as the UN Women program continues to offer incentives to refugees using a blockchain salary system.

A Norwegian company has recently come up with its own way of freeing the oceans of plastic waste with a similar tokens program. The project launched by Empower enables the public to remove plastic waste to any certified recycling station and be 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. There are also other incentives through the system for both users and manufacturers, the latter with an environmental tax exemption based on waste quotas.

 

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