A JAPANESE investor has partnered with a Filipino capitalist to form a company that will introduce bitcoin to Filipinos.

Takanori Okuno and Emmanuel Roa Duterte formed Japhil Global Coins Corp. (J-PGC) and will set up headquarters in Cebu.

J-PGC president Duterte said they aim to introduce the virtual currency to Filipinos so they can take advantage of its uses such as in remitting money, investment and cashless payment.

The company, however, is still waiting for their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) papers and license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

According to BSP, a virtual currency (VC) refers to a type of digital unit that is used as a medium of exchange or a form of digitally stored value created by agreement within the community of VC users.

The BSP is evaluating 12 applications for the registration of VC exchanges after it issued permits to two firms earlier this year.

It also issued Circular 944, which required the VC providers to be under their watch.

It recognizes that VC systems have the potential to revolutionize delivery of financial services, particularly for payments and remittance, in view of their ability to provide faster and more economical transfer of funds, both domestic and international, and may further support financial inclusion.

The BSP also said it does not intend to support any VC, such as bitcoin, as a currency since it is neither issued nor guaranteed by BSP nor backed by any commodity.

Rather, it said, it aims to regulate VCs when used for delivery of financial services, particularly for payments and remittances, which have material impact on anti-money laundering operations and combating the financing of terrorism, as well as ensuring consumer protection and financial stability.

People can buy and sell bitcoins by tapping dealers or brokers or going to bitcoin exchanges.

Takanori said they see the Philippines as an ideal market for bitcoin because of its growing population, technologically-savvy citizens, huge remittances market and high population without access to bank services.

“We chose the Philippines as our center of business following the long-term good relationship between our countries. The Philippine economy is also growing quickly,” said Takanori, adding that they will focus on helping low-income Filipinos participate in bitcoin exchanges.

“We are looking forward to more collaborations here in the Philippines,” said Takanori, the director of J-PGC.

The Japanese investor also assured Filipinos that bitcoin transactions are protected by blockchain technology. The company also has a strong connection, with 19 countries around the world.

Monthly transactions in the Philippines involving mostly bitcoin averaged $8.8 million in the first half of 2017, from only $2 million in 2015 and about $6 million in 2016, data from the BSP showed.

Takanori added that the bitcoin exchange is just the initial entry of the company, as it plans to establish more services under the virtual currency exchange, along with other big-ticket corporate social responsibility programs. (KOC)