The Philippines central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has approved licenses for two new cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. The new approvals bring the number of crypto exchanges in the country up to five.
More and more governments are looking to improve regulation for cryptocurrency related activities, with countries like Malta, Thailand, and Uzbekistan adopting a positive stance. Regulations like these provide a better environment for blockchain technology to thrive, as opposed to blanket bans like the ones imposed by India and China.
The Philippines recently released guidelines on how it will regulate the cryptocurrency industry in the country, with initial quotas for crypto exchange licenses being set at 10 per year. However, after advice from experts within the country, the regulatory arm – Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) – increased the total to 25.
The two new exchanges that have been granted licenses are Virtual Currency Philippines Inc and ETranss. The platforms will enable citizens to buy, sell and trade local Philippines peso’s (PHP) for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
A progressive approach to cryptocurrencies like this is becoming more and more important in countries like the Philippines where citizens need access to cheaper credit and reduced fees for receiving money from relatives working abroad. It is estimated that almost USD$8 billion was sent home to Filipinos from abroad in Q1 of 2018.
As a result of the positive regulation, the Philippines has enjoyed a huge surge in its financial sector. Cryptocurrency exchanges in the country often trade higher volumes than traditional financial institutions, with local exchange Coins.ph recently receiving USD$5 million in funds from South African internet company Naspers.
Coins.ph provides a platform that allows users to not only buy and trade cryptocurrency but also obtain a crypto debit card to withdraw funds and pay credit card bills online. It has grown to become one of the top 10 most used apps in the Philippines, with one million Android users alone.
In countries like Venezuela, where the local currency has all but collapsed, cryptocurrency has become a lifeline for many citizens who have no other access to funds.
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