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BSP grants e-money, cryptocurrency, e-payment licenses to Direct Agent 5

REUTERS

THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) has granted cryptocurrency, e-money and e-payment licenses to Direct Agent 5, Inc. (DA5), which plans to launch a hybrid digital wallet.

DA5, an authorized direct agent of Western Union in the Philippines, secured central bank approval to operate as a Non-Bank Electronic Money Issuer (EMI), Virtual Assets Service Provider (VASP), and Type A Advanced Electronic Payment and Financial Services.

“With this approval, DA5 is the 20th entity to have a VASP License; the 43rd non-financial banking institution to have an EMI License, and the ninth entity to have both VASP and Non-Bank EMI licenses, based on publicly available documents,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

The firm already operates as a remittance and transfer company through its existing Remittance Agent License and Money Changing/Foreign Exchange Dealing License from the BSP.

With its new licenses, DA5 said it is now the only money service business to offer remittances, foreign exchange, crypto exchange, and e-money facilities.

“After 16 years of servicing the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), DA5 can further help our modern-day heroes by bringing down the cost of remittances at a fraction of what banks and traditional remittance companies are currently charging. We hope to empower more Filipino communities by enabling them with financial convenience and accessibility,” Raymond A. Babst, DA5 CEO and president, was quoted as saying.

DA5 plans to launch SurgePay, a hybrid digital wallet, in the first quarter of 2023 to make remittances cheap and secure through blockchain technology, it said in a statement on Thursday.

SurgePay aims to be the “most innovative” Web 3.0 wallet in the Philippine market, utilizing blockchain technology to allow users to send and receive remittances from any DA5 branch nationwide.

“DA5, having been a regulated entity for the past 16 years, is poised to lead the Philippine financial ecosystem by marrying blockchain technology with government regulation. By doing so, it positions the Philippines as a progressive country that embraces blockchain, tokenization, and Web 3.0 development putting it on par with its Asian neighbors like Singapore, Hongkong, Indonesia, and Korea,” it said.

DA5 was established in 2006 and has an 1,800-location footprint in the Philippines. — A.M.C. Sy

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