Monday, October 25, 2021

BSP to study inclusion of virtual currencies

AS the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) pushes for electronic money transfers, it promised it will continue to study the potential inclusion of virtual currencies in the country’s digital financial transactions.

“We are still on the initial phase of building the ecosystem of the National Retail Payment System (NRPS). For now, we don’t want these cryptocurrencies to mingle with the currencies we have,” said Bangko Sentral deputy director and NRPS project head Raymond Estioko.

“We will need to carefully study more,” Estioko added, in response to inquiries on whether the BSP will allow cryptocurrencies for e-transfer transactions, among others, during the Innovation Summit hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI).

Under the law, the BSP is the sole authority that can issue money in the Philippines through bank notes and coins used as legal tender for daily transactions.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Etherium and Ripple are virtual currencies that are not regulated by any state or central bank. They rely on cryptography to secure and verify transactions and control the creation of more units.

The BSP is processing applications from 29 cryptocurrency exchange firms.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Payments Management Inc. (PPMI) expects more industry players to start using Instapay, which will drive up the volume of e-money transfers.

Launched last April, InstaPay is a real time account-to-account payments or transfer of funds. Catering to low value payments of up to P50,000, InstaPay allows the public to have seamless inter-bank fund transfers.

PPMI said it is looking at over 100 BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) participating as they move toward increased digitalization efforts.

“There were a total of 20 participants on the day of its launch in April 2018 but only seven institutions have the capacity to send and receive payments via Instapay. We expect this number to grow to over 100 or at least 90 percent of all BSFIs, as each company ramps up their system readiness to participate,” said Abraham Co, PPMI president in a statement.

PPMI added that check payments and automated teller machine (ATM) transactions would likely shift to e-money transfers since this is the fastest way to safely move funds, enabling the public to initiate real-time payment transactions. (KOC)


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