Since early 2017 the Philippines has been taking steps to regulate cryptocurrencies or what they like to call them virtual currencies. In fact, no other than the Philippine Central Bank has expressed interest in regulating the new asset class. However, they are also quick to remind people that crypto carries significant risk and would-be investors should do their own due diligence when engaging such a new financial mechanism. Moving forward in 2020 the crypto industry has improved significantly, developing a free port-like industry in Cagayan Economic Zone wherein foreign investors can operate blockchain and crypto-related businesses as well as issuing licenses to crypto-related businesses which effectively gave them almost equal footing with traditional financial institutions.
The increasing regulatory clarity and the increasing number of crypto-related businesses in the Philippines came to no surprise as the Philippines is the third-largest remitting country in the world only surpassed by China and India with both having 10x more population. Cross-border remittance and settlements are multi-billion USD industry that is seen to be the perfect use case for many cryptocurrencies such as XRP and XLM and to some degree BTC and its forks. The Philippines also presents the perfect demographics as the majority of Filipinos are young, tech-savvy, and proficient in English. More importantly millions of them are migrant workers.
While most countries struggle with regulatory clarity, access and having the number of people who are knowledgeable in blockchain or crypto, the Philippine don't. You can buy bitcoins in every 7-11 outlets in the Philippines as well as in almost all remittance centers around the Philipines. Once you are online you can easily sell them using apps like Abra, Coins.ph., Rebit or exchanges them in PDAX, Coins Pro, Localbitcoin or Paxful. It may not be the regional powerhouse in the cryptocurrency industry like Japan, South Korea or Singapore but the Phillippines has what it takes to be one of the first countries to achieve mass adoption of this burgeoning asset class.
I am glad to see that some have already taken notice of the potential of the Philippines as a major market in the cryptocurrency industry. US-based Abra has increasingly been improving to its services in the country, recently partnering with 7-11 electronic kiosk service provider and Wirex Visa card issuer adding support to the country. In fact, I have recently acquired my first Wirex card which by the way I got totally free including shipping Via DHL. I absolutely love the Wirexcard since it lets me use my cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services via the card in ALL merchants that accept VISA.
I can't wait to see what 2020 will bring in the blockchain and crypto space. The market for the past two years has not been that great but development and adoption have been phenomenal. Hopefully, being a halving year for bitcoin, we can see these developments reflect on the price movement of bitcoin.