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Cryptocurrency role seen growing in remittances, gaming

CRYPTOCURRENCY will likely continue gaining traction in the Philippines particularly in remittances, payments, and online games, participants in a BusinessWorld Insights Forum said.

At the “Fintech’s Place in the Growth of Cryptocurrencies” forum, speakers said they expect more people to try crypto, presenting both opportunities and risks.

Melchor T. Plabasan, Technology Risk and Innovation supervision director at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), said the main applications he is seeing as a regulator are in investment, remittances and payment.

“I think the increasing adoption of virtual assets pushes us to continuously enhance our regulatory and supervisory authority abilities to appropriately oversee these activities because they may have impact on the stability and integrity of our financial system,” Mr. Plabasan said.

BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said last week that volume of cryptocurrency transactions rose nearly five times to 20 million in June 2021. By value, they rose 71% year on year to P105.93 billion, he added.

Earlier this year, the BSP expanded its regulatory scope to include more types of virtual asset service providers to better manage the risks that come with such services.

“We have also seen a number of remittance companies now using crypto to remit money instead of using the traditional clearing and settlement models. We have also seen institutional investors as well joining the crypto world, which of course, we can somehow attribute to regulatory certainty,” Mr. Plabasan said.

Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) Founder and Chief Executive Officer Nichel O. Gaba said growing adoption by financial institutions and supportive regulations are expanding its use.

“We’re now using virtual assets or blockchain technology to power cheaper remittances, provide more people the opportunity to earn, whether it’s through playing a game or trading and investing. But there’s a lot more to come,” Mr. Gaba said.

Swarup Gupta, an industry manager at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said cryptocurrencies hold the potential to generate alternative income via play-to-earn games.

“Several Filipinos have found to be an avenue for earning money. The reason is that you can actually convert these tokens into real world, fiat currency,” Mr. Gupta said.

Mr. Gupta said that virtual assets will be here to stay in many forms.

“It’s a good hedge against inflation and there is a negative reaction to any stringent regulatory action,” he added.

The central bank has reminded the public to limit their dealings to registered virtual asset service providers to minimize their risk. — Luz Wendy T. Noble

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