While some countries around the world are getting a little leery about digital currencies, the Philippines has embraced the new form of money, and that has resulted in them doubling the amount of virtual currency traded or acquired in 2018, going from about $190 million in 2017 to $390 million this last year. This, despite the fact that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has warned consumers to be careful of acquiring, holding, or trading these virtual currencies.
According to Melchor Plabasan, the officer in charge of the BSP’s Technology and Innovation Supervision Department, the value of transactions more than doubled from the previous year. In 2017, BSP recorded $189.18 million worth of cryptocurrency transactions. However, that number raised by $201.19 million in 2018.
While the BSP has discouraged citizens from investing in cryptocurrencies, the central bank approved the creation of three new crypto exchanges just weeks ago. Because of how successful the market has been in the Philippines, the exchanges were seen as a necessary step to protect consumers and enable people within the country to be able to trade and acquire digital currencies such as bitcoin.
The market for cryptocurrency users in the Philippines has dramatically increased in recent years. A study by BSP found that 77% of its adult citizens did not use a bank or other financial institution, but a larger proportion of its citizens are interested in and are trading cryptocurrencies.
This has even resulted in people making rather large purchases using digital currencies. In February, three large properties were purchased in the Philippines using cryptocurrencies. This included a four bedroom villa located in the exclusive Bernwood Resort.
Many have questioned why homeowners would sell their property for what can be described as “Internet money,” but James Richman of JJRichman Investors explained that “We’re big proponents of cryptocurrencies and think we should start expanding the conversation towards seeing it as a viable payment option.”
It is interesting that the volume of currencies in the Philippines decreased from 6.58 million transactions in 2017 to 6.15 million this last year. However, the total value of the transactions increased drastically, as many are sending money from other countries back to their relatives in the Philippines.
Many citizens of the country have traveled to to find work, choosing to forward their paycheck back to their family members through the use of services such as Western Union or have accepted cryptocurrency as payment for services rendered. Their family members were then able to exchange the digital currency for pesos.
The BSP have made it clear that they have no intention of restricting access for citizens to use cryptocurrencies. They are allowing consumers to use at their own risk.
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