Cryptocurrencies in the Philippines
A Crypto Hub
The Philippines, officially the Republic of the Philippines, is situated in the Western Pacific Ocean and consists of around 7,641 islands. These islands fall under three main geographical divisions; Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital is Manila. The Philippines is an archipelagic country. This means it constitutes a single unit. The waters around, between, and connecting the islands, irrespective of their breadth and dimensions, form the internal waters of the state. Correspondingly, these waters are subject to the exclusive sovereignty of the Philippines.
This is significant, as the Philippine economy has been dependent on full possession of their own waters. Ports are vital for import, export, and trade. However, government initiatives have opened the market to fintech and blockchain companies, announcing the country is on the verge of becoming a crypto hub.
The Philippines has one of the highest rates of cryptocurrency acceptance among its Southeast Asian neighbors. Undoubtedly, this fact alone makes it a promising territory for crypto tokens. Yet, like most of the developing world, an estimated 86% of Filipinos are without access to banking services. This unique combination of openness to crypto and the lag between the banking services and the Filipino population puts UK-based blockchain company OnlineBitcoin, and its ManilaCoin, a cryptocurrency for financial inclusion, in a favorable position. Unlike traditional cryptocurrency, mining distribution of ManilaCoin is optimized for personal computers, rather than specialized mining hardware. In line with this, UnionBank will lead in blockchain development amongst local banks to address similar challenges. In the meantime, fintech companies continue to establish themselves in creating a steady crypto market.
Furthermore, the Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) will be welcoming ten crypto businesses from across Asia to begin operating in the islands. Spearheading several of these new projects is Justo Ortiz, chairman of The Blockchain Association of the Philippines (BAP). At the same time, Ortiz is also the chairman of Unionbank. His prime objective is to provide entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and fintech professionals the information and guidance needed to effectively implement blockchain technology. In a previous interview with Cryptovest, Ortiz said,
“If ever we missed Internet age, maybe let’s not miss the blockchain age.”
Crypto Valley of Asia
Cryptocurrency exchange licenses are estimated to earn the authority that governs the Philippines Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport $67 million. The authority recently announced granting its first of 25 principle operating licenses to a Hong Kong-based crypto exchange. Further, each principle license holds the authority to sub-license four (or more) spinoffs.
In addition, if all of this wasn’t happening fast enough, the Philippines government-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) is currently organizing a crypto and Fintech community titled the “Crypto Valley of Asia.” Partnering with Northern Star Gaming & Resorts Inc., CEZA administrator and CEO Raul L. Lambino believes that such an infrastructure would serve to attract more foreign investors and global fintech players. At any rate, it will help the country become a the major player in the fintech and blockchain industry, and a crypto hub.
There is massive concerted effort by banks, the government, fintech entrepreneurs, and national alliances. Still, the Philippines appears to be racing the clock. Surrounded by pockets of hostility, the nation provides an oasis for blockchain technology. With proper planning and cooperation, it will most certainly attract international blockchain companies willing to set up shop in a developing country. Simultaneously, the country will be fostering the needs of its people. There appears to be a bright crypto future ahead.