Philippines Increasingly Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

Philippines Increasingly Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

There are many reasons why the Philippines is becoming increasingly crypto-friendly. Not only has its central bank registered more crypto exchanges recently, but the Securities and Exchange Commission has also been actively finalizing crypto guidelines. The country has an active crypto community, and one of its largest banks has engaged in multiple crypto projects.

Also read: Central Banks Worldwide Testing Their Own Digital Currencies

Rising Number of Crypto Exchanges

The number of approved crypto exchanges has been increasing in the Philippines. The country’s central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has registered 13 of them so far: Betur Inc. dba Coins.ph, Rebittance Inc., Bloomsolutions Inc., Virtual Currency Philippines Inc., Etranss Remittance International Corp., Fyntegrate Inc., Zybi Tech Inc., Bexpress Inc., Coinville Phils Inc., Aba Global Philippines Inc., Bitan Moneytech Co. Ltd., Telcoin Corp., and Atomtrans Tech Corp. The latter two were added to the BSP’s list of approved exchanges last month.

The central bank adopted a formal regulatory approach to cryptocurrency through the issuance of Circular No. 944 back in 2017. It requires businesses engaged in the exchange of cryptocurrencies for fiat money in the Philippines to register with the central bank as remittance and transfer companies.

Philippines Growing More Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

Among the registered companies is Rebittance Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), a fintech company building a blockchain ecosystem in the Philippines. Co-founder Miguel Cuneta told news.Bitcoin.com that, besides the 13 registrants, many others are in “in the process of applying.”

In addition, the Philippines has a special economic zone where many overseas crypto exchanges have been licensed to operate. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) revealed in June that it had licensed 37 crypto exchange operators. In collaboration with property developer Northern Star Gaming and Resorts, the authority has been building “Crypto Valley of Asia” for companies operating in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport. However, CEZA’s licenses do not entitle licensees to “sell securities to Filipinos or to exchange tokens into fiat currency,” the authority clarified, noting that a BSP license is needed for such purpose.

Growing More Crypto-Friendly

Cuneta further shared with news.Bitcoin.com that he believes “The Philippines has always been one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world,” highlighting several factors.

Firstly, he emphasized that the Philippines is “one of the first in the whole world” where the central bank registers companies wanting to provide services using cryptocurrency. The BSP started registering them in 2017, the same year Japan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), began registering Japanese crypto exchanges. The FSA has registered 19 operators to legally operate crypto exchanges in Japan so far. Moreover, Cuneta elaborated:

We also now have new draft guidelines from our own SEC on ICO fundraising and order-book exchange regulations, paving the way for a more mature ecosystem with our own crypto marketplace for local price discovery.

The SCI co-founder additionally remarked that his country has “an active community and active meetup groups established since 2014.” He also acknowledged that CEZA “allows overseas crypto companies to register and cater to offshore customers.” After conveying various reasons for the crypto savvy image of the country, he concluded that “Definitely, the Philippines is becoming more and more crypto-friendly.”

Philippines Growing More Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

Luis Buenaventura, founder and chief strategy officer at Bloomsolutions Inc., shares a similar sentiment. Describing his country as “one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world,” he told news.Bitcoin.com: “Not only do we have an actual regulatory framework for crypto exchanges, but we’re also a predominantly English-speaking population that can use all the same tools and apps as North American or European audiences with minimal localization. Thus we tend to be a launchpad for U.S. startups looking to expand in the region.”

As an example, he mentioned popular mobile bitcoin wallet and investing app Abra. The startup has been offering its crypto-to-fiat conversion network in the Philippines since 2016, trialing it in the country first, before expanding to others. Many Filipinos are also trading bitcoin cash on Bitcoin.com’s peer-to-peer marketplace.

Crypto Adoption Advancing

Buenaventura estimates that there are approximately two million people in the Philippines who have had some exposure to crypto; some were “caught up in the buying frenzy of late 2017.” He further shared with news.Bitcoin.com:

We have a fairly sizable expat population, mostly Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese so there’s a lot of cross-pollination when it comes to financial technologies and payment systems.

Cuneta also believes that crypto adoption is growing in the Philippines, “at least in terms of the number of on-ramps and off-ramps we have for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country,” he explained to news.Bitcoin.com. “You can send money, pay bills, buy phone credits, and exchange crypto to fiat using several central-bank licensed exchanges and service providers.”

Philippines Growing More Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

Another factor recognized by the SCI co-founder was that “Banks and other business are also more comfortable working with companies that are licensed by the central bank, unlike when we were starting out in 2014 and banks would just shut down our accounts as soon as they found out we are dealing with bitcoin.” He continued, “In terms of user adoption, we see more sophisticated and knowledgeable users, traders, and enthusiasts as compared to the speculative mania of 2017.”

While asserting that “Bitcoin-as-retail-payment has never caught on here,” Buenaventura opined:

Less than 2% of payments in the Philippines happens digitally so the importance of creating cash-to-crypto bridges can’t be overstated.

Stressing the growing number of places where “people can actively exchange physical cash for crypto,” he disclosed that his company “powers about a dozen physical locations, and they’re all licensed FX outlets, and we’re aiming to be in 50 by the end of the year.”

Unionbank’s Crypto Initiatives

The Union Bank of the Philippines (Unionbank), one of the largest banks in the country, has engaged in a couple of crypto projects. Following the installation of a bitcoin ATM at its branch in Makati called The Ark, the bank has reportedly launched a stablecoin.

The Philippine Star reported on July 26 that Unionbank had issued “a stablecoin dubbed PHX and became the first bank in the country to conduct transactions using the blockchain technology.” This stablecoin is not to be confused with the Red Pulse Phoenix coin which uses the same symbol. Unionbank backs the value of its coin, which is guaranteed to be at parity with the Philippine peso at all times, the publication conveyed.

Philippines Growing More Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

A senior vice president and head of the fintech business group at Unionbank, Arvie de Vera, revealed that live PHX transactions were implemented on the bank’s i2i platform. Project i2i, which stands for island-to-island, institution-to-institution, and individual-to-individual, is the bank’s clearing system that connects rural banks through blockchain technology. Three banks participated: Summit Rural Bank in Luzon, Progressive Bank in Visayas and Cantilan Bank in Mindanao. Each performed buy, transfer, redemption transactions and domestic remittances using the stablecoin. Initially available only to i2i participants, the coin can be purchased and redeemed by debiting from and crediting directly to their Unionbank accounts. According to de Vera:

PHX is a stable store of value, medium of exchange and is a programmable token with self-executing logic. It enables transparent and automatic execution of payments.

Philippines Growing More Crypto Friendly – A Look at Driving Forces

SEC’s Digital Asset Exchange Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines has published a document entitled Rules on Digital Asset Exchange, which primarily governs the registration and operations of digital asset exchanges accessible in or from the Philippines.

The document has 10 main sections covering areas such as registration requirements, anti-money laundering measures, as well as the powers and responsibilities of digital asset exchanges, including capitalization maintenance requirements. “The digital asset exchange shall maintain the unimpaired paid-up capital of one hundred million pesos (Php 100,000,000.00 [~$1,912,450]) at all times … in a form, and amount as the Commission determines is sufficient to ensure the financial integrity of the digital asset exchange and its operations,” the SEC document reads.

Stakeholders, exchanges, broker-dealers, investment houses, the investing public, and other interested parties had until Aug. 14 to submit their input regarding the proposed rules.

What do you think of the Philippines’ crypto ecosystem? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.





Japan to Solarize Its Burgeoning Digital Economy, Expert Take

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NEO Is in Talks to Integrate Celer Network to Improve Scalability

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Australian tax Authority Warns Retirees Against Risky Cryptocurrency Investments

Australian tax Authority Warns Retirees Against Risky Cryptocurrency Investments

In a bid to remind 18,000 retirees under Self Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) of their legal duty to invest their retirement savings cautiously, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has begun sending stern letters to some of these individuals whom have chosen to spend over 90 percent of their retirement savings in a single asset class such as cryptocurrency, reports Micky on August 16, 2019.

ATO’s Letters to SMSFs

Per the report, ATO has begun sending letters to 18,000 SMSFs who take the sole responsibility of deciding how their private superannuation fund is managed instead of employing the services of relevant professionals.

Reportedly, ATO’s letters are to serve as a warning to SMSFs who have thrown caution to the wind and invested a large chunk of their retirement savings in a single asset class such as cryptocurrency, property, and others.

Part of the letter outlines that SMSF owners have a responsibility to adhere to legal requirements by adopting non-risky investment strategies.

According to Dana Fleming, ATO assistant commissioner, the agency’s primary aim of sending the letters is to make it clear to retirees that it is illegal to put all their eggs in one basket by investing more than 90 percent of their funds on one asset class.

The Australian law stipulates that SMSFs who fail to adhere to the regulation could be fined up to $4,200.

Reason Behind ATO’s Letters

Reportedly, the need to warn retirees against risky investments stemmed from the significant increase in the number of Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangements (LRBAs) in Australia.

And the agency also noticed that more than 40 percent of SMSFs owners with LRBAs had invested at least 90 percent of their retirement savings in a single asset class and out of that number, the majority seems to have taken a liking to cryptocurrency-based investments.

“We have already seen two instances of SMSFs losing significant amounts of their retirement savings through investment in cryptocurrency,” an ATO spokesperson said.

Against that backdrop, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has warned citizens to be wary of firms offering an SMSF creation in a bid to help them invest in cryptoassets.

The agency says SMSFs has purportedly become a niche taken advantage of by cryptocurrency companies since the growing market alone is worth about $700 billion.

According to Ajeet Khurana, CEO of Zebpay crypto exchange, most bitcoin-linked businesses have decided to pitch their tents in Australia, as it is the only developed country that allows people to invest all manner of funds in cryptos, including their retirement money and superannuation money.

In related news, BTCManager on May 2, 2019, reported that ATO is obtaining relevant information from designated service providers (DSPs) to ensure crypto traders are filing accurate income statements and paying their taxes.

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New Zealand Rules for Crypto Salary — Have Hopes Been Answered?

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Ripple (XRP) May Face Grim Future Despite Today’s Bounce

Earlier this past week Ripple (XRP) along with the aggregated crypto markets faced an incredibly sharp sell-off that sent XRP reeling down to lows of $0.25, which marked a significant pullback from the mid-$0.30 region where it has previously found stability.

Although the crypto was able to post a small bounce today, analysts are still noting that XRP broke below its 2018 support level, which could mean that significantly further losses are imminent.

Ripple (XRP) Finds Support Around $0.25 

At the time of writing, Ripple is trading up just over 1% at its current price of $0.265, which marks a slight increase from its daily lows of just below $0.26.

This past Wednesday, XRP incurred a significant influx of selling pressure that sent its price reeling down from over $0.30 to lows of roughly $0.25, at which point it found some strong support that allowed it to climb slightly higher.

It now appears that the $0.25 region is a strong level of support, as it has bounced each time that it has visited this region.

Importantly, unlike many other major altcoins, XRP is currently trading below its 2018 lows, and has now set a fresh low since it first began its downwards ascent from highs of nearly $4.00 in early-January of 2018.

Will XRP Drop Further in Near-Future?

Although analysts are not sure what has been the root cause behind Ripple’s lackluster price action throughout 2019, some investors have pinned it on regulatory concerns regarding its potential status as a securities product, which others have linked it to Ripple – the FinTech company closely associated with XRP – offloading massive amount of XRP onto the markets each quarter.

Regardless of what the cause might be, The Cryptomist, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, noted in a recent tweet that the recent drop marked a break below its 2018 support level, which could mean further losses are imminent.

“$XRP: Relieved I sold last week! 🙂 Support from August 2018 has now broken. However, I am adding some here as we potentially have a falling wedge here. Breakout would test previous support,” she explained while referencing the below chart.

As the week wraps up, it is unclear as to whether or not Bitcoin’s price action will guide that of Ripple’s, or if the crypto will operate on an individual basis as it continues to face intense selling pressure.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

IRS Revoking Passports Shows How Government Erodes Everything We Hold Dear

IRS Revoking Passports Shows How Government Erodes Everything We Hold Dear

If you have outstanding tax debt, the IRS may now want to take your passport. For U.S. crypto holders still waiting on promised IRS guidelines for filing — especially those overseas who may have missed these warning memos — the over 400,000 agency notifications issued since February last year are troubling. This kind of behavior from government is nothing new, however, but an oft-repeating pattern of parasitism which sucks value from producers of goods, services and surplus, and punishes progress.

Also Read: Elon Musk Supports Yang – But Does Andrew Yang Really Support Bitcoin?

True Tyranny Is Vague

It has been said that the most cruel and insufferable forms of tyranny are not those with the most rules, but those with the rules that are the most unclear. Even under extremely unfair and unjust law, if one knows what is expected, one can often survive. It’s the proverbial drunken hand of the volatile, abusive caregiver, who one day is reserved about some small matter, and the next flies into a violent rage about the same, which is truly the crushing burden to bear. In the case of the caregiver, old, unaddressed emotional wounds are likely to blame. In the case of the state, the leveraging of ambiguity to produce fear is intentional.

In May, IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig wrote in a statement: “We have been considering these issues and intend to publish guidance addressing these [crypto issues] and other issues soon.” To date, no such guidance on filing crypto taxes has been issued. What has been issued, however, are vague threats and warnings to crypto holders and traders.

IRS Revoking Passports Shows How Government Erodes Everything We Hold Dear
IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig has announced that letters will be sent to crypto holders who may have misreported or neglected to file, even in the absence of promised guidelines.

Since February, 2018, notifications have been going out to over 400,000 taxpayers who owe more than $51,000 (recently adjusted to $52,000) in overdue taxes. Since June this year, letters specifically targeting crypto holders have been issued. These letters also clarified inexplicably that, contrary to Rettig and the IRS’s previous statements, crypto is not simply treated as a property under U.S. policy. Every transaction except for buying crypto with fiat is a taxable event.

Expats, who may not have gotten these letters due to residing overseas, could potentially have their passports revoked. Those attempting to visit the U.S. may find themselves trapped in an airport, now without a recognized nationality, unable to return home to their families overseas should they set off alarm bells at immigration. Such mobility-stifling measures are a key means to contain and control financial assets, as the value creators moving them are then unable to relocate to more favorable economic climes.

IRS Revoking Passports Shows How Government Erodes Everything We Hold Dear

The Attack on Sustenance

But, where there’s blood, there will be ticks. Where there’s self-sufficiency, surplus and charity, the government will be there to suck it dry. Attacking the geo-mobility of wealth holders through passport revocation is one desperate way to do this. But that’s not where the punishment of productivity ends, of course.

Much like the free exchange of bitcoin in the financial realm, being able to grow one’s own food is a major threat to the forced dependency of government. States worldwide have a long, continuing history of destroying food for price regulation, and shutting down private businesses serving their communities.

Just last month, for example, the U.K.’s sole organic hemp farming co-op was forced to destroy its crop worth an estimated £480,000 (~$583,000) due to licensing issues. The group, Hempen, states it had been completely forthright and transparent with officials, who had seen no problems for years until recently, suddenly deciding to revoke their license. The rationale for the revocation is of course, defined in tyrannically vague terms.

According to a BBC report, Hempen co-founder Patrick Gillen, lamenting the waste of potential tax revenue and benefits to the country from his products, stated:

Instead of capitalising on the booming CBD industry, the Home Office’s bureaucracy is leading British farmers to destroy their own crops, and millions of pounds’ worth of CBD flowers are being left to rot in the fields.

IRS Revoking Passports Shows How Government Erodes Everything We Hold Dear
U.S. price control regulations have repeatedly forced Michigan cherry farmers to destroy massive portions of their produce.

Historically, the New Deal legislation of the Great Depression (which also included the abandonment of the gold standard and a mandatory surrender of privately held gold) made these types of practices a norm in the U.S., when regulations were introduced in a bid to protect prices. John Steinbeck describes the travesty in sobering fashion, in his classic novel, “The Grapes of Wrath”:

And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges … A million people hungry, needing the fruit- and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains … And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange.

Though fiction, the novel describes actual events that took place during that tragic era. These wasteful practices continue in the U.S. today. After being ordered to dump 30 million pounds of cherries to rot on the ground in 2009, for example, Michigan cherry farmer Rob Manigold echoed Steinbeck’s words:

The food pantry shelves are bare, people going hungry, and here we are dumping millions of pounds of cherries on the ground.

Arguments for such massive waste based on “the greater good” or “necessary regulation” don’t hold up to economic principle or moral scrutiny, as stifling production where demand is present is irrational, unless justified by one class of individuals possessing a supposed right to determine what others may or may not do with their own bodies or property, which is slavery.

IRS Revoking Passports Shows How Government Erodes Everything We Hold Dear

Why Crypto Is the Final Target

So what in the hell do mountains of rotting fruit and revoked passports have to do with crypto? Quite a lot, it transpires. A money that cannot be centrally regulated provides the same essential power that a flourishing, productive private farm does, but on a whole new level. Self-sufficiency. A passport allows free movement, which is another necessity for self-sufficiency. Once the state is not needed for money, however, that’s the very end. At that point, centralized governance is not needed at all. The advent of bitcoin made the financial transcendence of central banks, geopolitical restrictions, and third party oversight possible.

With global devaluation of fiat currencies ever growing, and reckless low and negative interest rate policies being instituted to create more credit bubbles worldwide, the state is beginning to panic. That’s a good sign. The way to sense a debate has been won is often to simply observe one’s opponent beginning to react with fear or irrational outbursts. In the state’s case the reaction is actual violence, however, and that’s why no matter how hard anyone might try, it cannot be said that there is any freedom to be had without a very real risk. What price one is willing to pay for that freedom is entirely up to the individual.

What are your thoughts on government parasitism? Let us know in the comments section below.

OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Graham Smith

Graham Smith is an American expat living in Japan, and the founder of Voluntary Japan—an initiative dedicated to spreading the philosophies of unschooling, individual self-ownership, and economic freedom in the land of the rising sun.

3 Reasons Why Bitcoin Price Hasn’t Returned to $13,000

bitcoin price below usd $13,000 Bitcoin Price

3 Reasons Why Bitcoin Price Hasn’t Returned to $13,000


Despite the promises of crypto analysts and institutions like Goldman Sachs, Bitcoin price continues to hover around low 5 figures. What’s going on?


After struggling to hold above the $11,000 point earlier this week, Bitcoin price, at last, succumbed to selling pressure and dropped below $10,000 for the second time in three weeks. Prior to the drop, numerous analysts predicted that $10k would serve as a reliable bounce point as the price represents important psychological support.

Clearly, this was not the case and even after making a strong upside move from $9,500 to $10,450, Bitcoin still struggles to stay above $10,100. 

Let’s take a look at what is keeping the king of cryptocurrencies down. 

Dovey Wan says Ponzi Scheme is Crashing the Crypto Market

On July 14 Primitive Crypto founding partner Dovey Wan attributed the sharp sector-wide correction to bulk Bitcoin sells from PlusToken, a Chinese Ponzi scheme. The scheme managed to accrue 200,000 Bitcoin and more than 800,000 Ethereum from naive investors in China.

According to Wan, not every member of the PlusToken team has been arrested yet and data from cybersecurity auditing firm Peckshield shows that recently more than 1,000 Bitcoin was transferred to Huobi and Bittrex from PlusToken accounts. 

Wan is convinced that the scammers are covertly shifting their funds “into small batches into exchanges, like 50 to 100 Bitcoin per batch.”  Wan also claimed that she recently stumbled across a chat where Chinese traders were saying that someone had been dumping 100 BTC non-stop on Binance.

If true, it is entirely possible that large back to back sales of Bitcoin could affect spot rate across exchanges but this sole event is probably not fully responsible for Bitcoin’s malaise

Mind the CME Gap 

The CME Bitcoin Futures gap is another popular topic amongst Bitcoin traders and many cite the existence of the gap as a reason why Bitcoin continues to drop below $10,000. A glance at a Bitcoin daily chart shows an $870 gap between $7,177 and $8,050.

The gap is simply the outcome of Bitcoin price moving over the weekend while the CME Futures are closed and the space denotes the difference between the previous close and the new opening price once the market reopens.

The gap is a cause for concern as traders set the price as a target that must be filled at some point, typically when an asset corrects and retraces to supports in the vicinity of the gap.

Many traders believe that Bitcoin must revisit this $7,100 to $8,500 range to truly correct before resuming its strong bullish trend to a new all-time 2019 high. 

Bitcoin Accumulation Before Surge on Recession Fears 

An assortment of crypto analysts have posted charts suggesting that Bitcoin has entered a lengthy consolidation phase and will continue to be pinned between $9,000 to $14,000 until more excitement and momentum build up over the 2020 halving event. 

Earlier this week as the stock market took a horrific tumble over weakening macroeconomic fundamentals, fears of a recession sprang up as an economist focused on an inverted yield curve on treasury bonds.

This week the slope on US Treasury bonds became inverted and for economists and market analysts, this is typically an indicator that a recession could be on the way.

At the same time, Gold has continued to rise in price and many investors believe that Bitcoin is a similar store of value and hedge against volatility.

If the US and other countries truly are on the verge of a recession, one would increase inflow into Bitcoin and a significant increase in its market cap and value.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is steadily dropping back towards $10,000 and $9,800 is the most immediate support level. 

Do you think Bitcoin price will dip below $10,000 over the weekend? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images from Bitcoinist Image Library, Twitter: @DoveyWan, BTC/USD charts by TradingView

 

Hubii’s Nahmii Announces IEO and First Member of Governing Board

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Crypto Markets Descending, With Bitcoin Price Sinking Below $10,200

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