A major Philippine bank recently launched the country’s first two-way virtual currency automated teller machine (ATM).
According to a recent report, this will allow customers to purchase and sell virtual currencies for cash via an ATM machine as part of its sandbox.
The continued collaboration of the bank with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has allowed it to provide Filipinos with innovative solutions in line with all applicable regulations.
The ATM will provide the clients with an alternative channel to convert their pesos to virtual currency and vice versa.
This initiative is a part of the bank’s continued quest to cater to the evolving needs and tastes of the customers, including those clients who use virtual currency.
Cryptocurrency is a type of virtual currency that uses cryptography.
Cryptography, meanwhile, is a method of storing and transmitting data in unreadable form so that only the intended receivers can read and process it.
Bitcoin is the first and most popular cryptocurrency to date, introduced back in 2009.
According to the bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer, 2019 would usher the third phase of the digital transformation journey by scaling up the touchpoints through enhanced features in the mobile app as well as the roll-out of more The Ark branches.
Following the rise in the use of virtual currencies for payments and remittances in the Philippines, the BSP established a formal regulatory framework for virtual currency Exchanges through Circular 944 dated 6 February 2017.
The circular requires virtual currency exchanges to register with the central bank as remittance and transfer companies.
These exchanges are also required to put in place adequate safeguards to address the risks associated with virtual currencies, including control measures to counter money laundering/terrorist financing, technology risk management systems, and consumer protection mechanisms.
The launch was reported as special because it is the first case in which a major commercial bank worked with a central bank of the country to oversee the launch of a crypto ATM.
Only one crypto ATM was launched so far but the bank will evaluate both the overall demand from users and the performance of the ATM in the coming weeks.
Depending on the results, this may lead the deployment of more ATMs of this kind in the future.
The Philippines was amongst the first countries to regulate cryptocurrencies as a recognised asset class and as a remittance method.
The level of adoption of cryptocurrencies in the Philippines is already higher than other major regions, mainly due to the lack of viable banking options for a large portion of the local population.
The deployment of central bank-approved crypto ATMs developed by a major commercial bank could lead to an increase in confidence towards the asset class and the local cryptocurrency sector.
Local users remain optimistic in the outlook of the Philippine cryptocurrency sector as the bank’s CEO is well recognised for his enthusiasm towards cryptocurrencies in the local digital asset industry.
The Philippines has recently issued new rules on acquiring cryptocurrency assets, which OpenGov Asia has reported on.
This was done in a bid to effectively regulate and protect investors. The Digital Asset Token Offering (DATO) covers the acquisition of crypto assets, including utility and security tokens.