We’ll Study Bitcoin ‘Very Closely’: Philippine Central Bank

A senior official from the Philippine central bank has urged caution among retail investors of bitcoin despite the bank’s generally accepting stance on cryptocurrencies.

A year ago, bitcoin price struck $1,000 on January 1, 2017, and went on a meteoric rise to scale an all-time high near $20,000 in December due to wider acceptance and adoption across the world. While regulators and authorities have frequently expressed concerns about price volatility, the deputy governor of Philippines’ central bank called on the public to understand bitcoin as a currency, specifically – transactions involving the cryptocurrency, according to local publication ANC.

Stressing that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is “accepting” of cryptocurrencies, the official added that the bank was:

[A]t the same time, providing advisories to the general public that they have to be conscious of the opaqueness of transactions involving Bitcoins. This is something we should think about very closely.

The Philippine central bank first issued regulations and guidelines for the local bitcoin industry in early 2017 as bitcoin transactions grew to $8.8 million per month, up from $2 million in 2015 and $6 million in 2016, according to the BSP’s own data.

Adding its ‘accepting’ take on cryptocurrencies the central bank is also in the process of reviewing 12 applications for establishing and operating cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. Appearing at a televised interview in October 2017, BSP co-deputy director Melchor Plabasan called the guidelines “a pioneering regulation” before stating “we see it [bitcoin] as a payment and remittance [tool rather than an investment asset].”

The central bank official went on to highlight the advantages of using bitcoin, stating:

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.

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