Aiai Garcia, global business development lead for ConsenSys in the Asia-Pacific, believes the Philippines could be the next sandbox for the blockchain space in Asia.
In an interview with Cryptovest, Garcia said the blockchain market is developing rapidly in this country, with regulators receptive of the technology and adopting a “do no harm” policy.
“This is indeed a very exciting time for the Philippines blockchain industry. There are plenty of exciting projects, and the good thing is that all the regulators we've talked with or are talking to are also excited about the technology and looking for ways to adopt and use blockchain to improve the current system,” Garcia told Cryptovest.
According to her, the Department of Finance (DoF), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other Philippine government agencies all have technical teams studying blockchain not only to understand the technology better but to devise ways of adopting it.
Noting that the country's central bank has always kept an open mind about cryptocurrencies, Garcia gave credit to pioneers like Coins.ph, Bloom Solutions, and Satoshi Citadel Industries.
“Today, the Philippines has one of the most advanced blockchain payments apps in the world (Coins.ph), which provides 1.5 million Filipinos alternative access to their finances and other value-added services. Filipino regulators were also amongst the first to announce the regulation of Bitcoin as security," she added.
In an earlier interview, DoF spokesperson Paola Alvarez told Cryptovest the ministry was exploring the possibility of using blockchain to improve tax collection, ensure transparency and ease of doing business, and eliminate smuggling.
"Yes, of course, we are open to exploring blockchain. Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez is really pushing for the application of financial technology. He wants to harness fintech to improve business, for example, payment of taxes online."
In further indication of government interest, SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong urged in May the local blockchain industry to assist the watchdog in drafting a proper regulatory framework.
Amatong said at the time:
“The government wants to be proactive in creating rules about cryptocurrency. We want to engage all the stakeholders by asking for your feedback. We don't want to ban anything just because we don't understand something. That is why your feedback and your cooperation are important so we can come up with an appropriate rule about cryptocurrency trading.”