The Philippines Should Capitalize on the Blockchain Revolution
As some countries impose stringent regulations against blockchain technology, this presents an opportunity for the Philippines to emerge as the global hub for distributed ledger startups. According to the chairperson of the Blockchain Association of the Philippines, Justo Ortiz, all stakeholders in the Asian country should actively contribute towards the realization of this goal. Ortiz was speaking at a press conference organized by the Union Bank of the Philippines, where he is also the current chairman. Justo compared the chance to establish a reputation in blockchain to the early days of the internet, reiterating that the Philippines should maximize while there is still time.
Previously, Ortiz revealed that the Union Bank is on the forefront of advocating for the adoption of blockchain technology by banks and other local financial institutions. The primary reason behind this initiative is the bank’s faith in the problem-solving capabilities of distributed ledger technology. In this regard, the Union Bank believes that blockchain can enable the banks to access the populations that were hitherto underserved or entirely unbanked. Albeit jokingly, Justo stated that BAP is now a technology company besides being a bank.
Despite the predominance established by digital currencies, Justo maintains that blockchain technology is applicable in several real-life situations. To this end, Ortiz mentioned the swiftness and affordability of blockchain transactions, as well as the incontrovertibility of data stored on such databases. Additionally, Justo also told the media that government regulatory agencies should draft clear regulations regarding blockchain. He pointed out the presence of a clear regulatory framework will quicken the mainstreaming of blockchain technology, and thereby unlock its massive potential.
At the beginning of 2018, the Filipino central bank (BSP) issued a directive to both individual and institutional investors concerning transactions involving digital currencies. The bank ordered all crypto trading platforms to register with the BSP as remittance and transfer companies. Nonetheless, the commercial sector in the Philippines is eagerly awaiting the advisory which the BSP is expected to provide this summer. Likewise, the Filipino Securities and Exchange Commission is in the final stages of drafting regulations for the blockchain industry. Remarkably, the commission is open to contributions from stakeholders in the blockchain sector.
On her part, Cecilia Chen, the director of the Swiss Cryptocurrency hub Zug, believes that a different approach should be deployed to make the Philippines a renowned blockchain ecosystem. Chen proposes that the blockchain sector should be transformed in a self-regulating organization, rather than creating rules to regulate the industry. Nevertheless, Cecilia approved of the openness of the SEC and BSP on matters concerning blockchain technology.