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Bitcoin is ‘Fast, near Real-Time and Convenient’: Philippines Central Bank Official


The deputy director of the Philippines Central Bank has highlighted the advantages of using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin after releasing regulations for the industry earlier this year. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine central bank, published regulations for bitcoin exchanges earlier this year. In a statement at the time, the central bank said it “recognizes that virtual currency systems have the potential to revolutionize delivery of financial services particularly for payments and remittance, in view of their ability to provide faster and more economical transfer of funds, both domestic and international, and may further support financial inclusion.”

The move to regulate the local bitcoin industry was the first of its kind for an Asian nation. A significant factor leading to those regulations is the soaring growth in cryptocurrency transactions in the country. BSP deputy director Melchor Plabasan claimed that the Philippines is seeing upwards of $6 million in cryptocurrency transactions monthly, compared to $2 million a few years ago. He underlined the authority’s recently released guidelines as a “pioneering regulation” that was among the first in the world.

Speaking in a televised interview, Plabasan stated:

It’s like any other monetary instrument [and even] an investment instrument. There are risks but essentially, it can be managed. If you want something that is fast, near real-time and convenient then there’s the benefit of using virtual currencies like bitcoin.

When asked if bitcoin could soon be seen as “a savings and investment tool” in the mainstream, the central bank’s deputy director cited concerns with the volatility in bitcoin prices but insisted “we see it more as a payment and remittance [tool rather than an investment asset].

The central banker’s comments are notable for the open, even encouraging stance on cryptocurrencies, a marked contrast to the likes of German Bundesbank president Jens Wiedmann who recently warned that digital currencies could ‘worsen’ financial crises in the future. In a regulatory move against bitcoin earlier this month, Russia’s central bank is preparing to block websites of exchanges offering cryptocurrencies.

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