Crypto in Asia: Navigating the Evolving Landscape of the Philippines

Written by BTSE

November 6, 2023

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Over the last few years, the Philippines has emerged as a burgeoning hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain activities, signaling a significant shift in its financial paradigm. With a young population hungry for innovation and economic empowerment, the archipelago is positioning itself as a significant player in the world of digital assets. As the nation embarks on this transformative journey, we discover a blend of visionary leadership, educational initiatives, and an undying enthusiasm driving the Philippines towards a new digital dawn.


From Economic Challenges to Digital Empowerment


Historically, the Philippines has witnessed periods of economic challenges and colonial ties, which have greatly influenced its financial practices and systems. In such a setting, traditional financial methods often seem inadequate, paving the way for disruptive technologies to make their mark. Digital assets and blockchain technology, with their decentralized nature, emerged as powerful catalysts to counter economic adversities and empower individuals and communities alike.

The contemporary digital scene in the Philippines is a testament to this change. Local pioneers are channeling the power of these technologies to provide platforms and solutions that were previously unavailable to the public. For instance, BlockchainSpace is at the forefront, not merely as a tech entity, but as a force empowering community owners and gaming guilds. It offers them tools to foster engagement and drive monetization in ways that resonate with the youth’s digital-first approach. Similarly, Yield Guild Games is changing the way gaming ecosystems operate by acting as a bridge for gamers, connecting them to games and communities that align with their preferences and skills. These organizations, along with many others, exemplify the Philippines’ journey of embracing digital empowerment.


Crypto Education’s Role in the Philippines


The Philippines, recognizing the pivotal role of education in this domain, has spearheaded various initiatives to promote blockchain and cryptocurrency awareness. Leading the charge is the Global Miranda Miner Group (GMMG) with its “CrypTalk: University Caravan,” aiming to equip the next wave of finance and tech enthusiasts with comprehensive insights into this transformative realm. So far, they’ve engaged with 12 major universities, reaching over 2,000 students. These endeavors emphasize a country focused on fostering digital literacy and crypto-awareness, preparing its youth for the Web3 era.

In a landmark collaboration, Binance Academy joined forces with Enderun College in the Philippines to elevate crypto literacy. Underlining the significance of this alliance, the Binance Academy delegation was joined by representatives of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) to foster a deeper understanding of cryptocurrency among students and educators. These collaborations, among others, accentuate the nation’s commitment to cultivating a tech-savvy population.


Regulatory Evolution in the Philippines


The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the nation’s central bank, has actively shaped the country’s monetary landscape to embrace the digital economy. In 2017, the BSP issued Circular No. 944, legitimizing virtual currencies as payment methods and requiring their exchanges to register and meet regulatory guidelines. By 2021, the introduction of Guidelines for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) further solidified the regulatory framework. This ensures VASPs, including well-known entities like the Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) and BTSE, maintain a BSP license and robust KYC measures.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been overseeing securities and investments diligently. Its 2018 advisory on initial coin offerings (ICOs) emphasized investor protection and required registration for ICO-conducting entities. By December 2022, the Philippine SEC warned against unregistered exchanges and by January 2023, introduced draft rules aimed at providing a comprehensive framework for digital financial products. 

On the taxation front, the country has levied a capital gains tax of up to 15% on crypto transactions, with talks of further tax revisions by 2024. Through these evolving regulations, the Philippines is positioning itself as a key player in the global digital currency arena.


The Philippine Crypto Demographic


More than 21 million people in the Philippines, or 19% of the country, own crypto, according to a 2023 study conducted by Web3 software company Consensys and global data company YouGov. 

The younger generation, often early adopters of tech innovations, has shown enthusiasm with 46% of crypto owners being part of the 18–34 age bracket. However, the appeal is not limited to just the millennials and Gen Z, with 35% of crypto owners aged 35 to 54. This widespread age distribution underscores the notion that the promise of cryptocurrency resonates across generational lines.

In 2022, Filipino men have emerged as dominant players, being 1.7 times more likely to venture into the crypto space than their female counterparts. This gender skew means that approximately 63% of the country’s crypto holders are male. An estimated 37% of these digital currency aficionados in the country have chosen Bitcoin as their preferred crypto asset.


Challenges and Prospects in the Philippine Crypto World


The path toward widespread crypto adoption in the Philippines, though filled with promise, hasn’t been without its hurdles. Challenges such as scams, fraudulent schemes, and security vulnerabilities continue to lead to losses for both novice and seasoned investors. These threats highlight the urgency for robust educational platforms and initiatives. With educators such as Binance Academy and Enderun College emphasizing the importance of risk management, ethical trading behaviors, and ensuring digital security, the Philippines is showing its commitment to creating a safer and more informed crypto community.


The Road Ahead for the Philippines


In summary, the Philippines is carving a niche in the global crypto space, fueled by educational initiatives, entrepreneurial zeal, and regulatory evolution. The path is lined with challenges, but with dedicated stakeholders at the helm, the nation seems well poised to seize the opportunities in the transformation of digital finance.

To delve deeper into crypto-related developments in the Philippines and around the globe, visit BTSE’s blog for the latest updates and insightful explainers.

Buy Bitcoin with Philippine Pesos natively on BTSE now.


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Note: BTSE Blog contents are intended solely to provide varying insights and perspectives. Unless otherwise noted, they do not represent the views of BTSE and should in no way be treated as investment advice. Markets are volatile, and trading brings rewards and risks. Trade with caution.

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