An Uncomplicated, Dummy's Guide to Bitcoin in the Philippines
Suck at money? Congrats. You’re part of the 99 percent of people in their 20s floundering when it comes to finance. Adulting is hard, and money is harder—especially when it’s your own and not your parents. My Two Cents is here to break down everything you need to know about finance, business, and entrepreneurship. We’ll tackle all the basics, from how to get a business permit to how to invest in stocks, to educate the fledgling adults on how to not go broke.
Welcome to the idiot’s guide to money. Twelfth lesson: Understanding Bitcoin in the Philippines.
If you haven’t been living under a rock these last few years, then you’ve probably heard the word Bitcoin and all the buzz it’s been making in the market. From what the average person can guess, it’s a floating digital currency that you can’t actually withdraw like cash. It’s a complicated concept that’s somehow managed to take the world by storm, so here’s a quick guide to Bitcoin in the Philippines for you.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a digital or cryptocurrency that exists in a cloud. Unlike cash, it’s not tangible and isn’t operated by a government bank. Bitcoin is run by a decentralized authority that uses blockchain technology, which is essentially digital ledgers of your Bitcoin balance.
One of the main things that males Bitcoin appealing for its users is that it allows direct person-to-person transfers without the fees that come with a middleman.
It’s the world’s most-used cryptocurrency after gaining traction in the early 2010s. Since everything exists in the digital space, Bitcoin uses two keys to access the bitcoins stored in a Bitcoin wallet: the public key, which essentially acts as your bank account number, and the private key, which acts as your PIN number.
What can you use it for?
There are three primary uses for Bitcoin that make it popular around the world.
First, it lets you remit or wire transfer money to people to family overseas with less or no transaction fees. You can convert it to the currency of a country at any approved outlet, like Palawan Pawnshop in the Philippines.
Another appealing use for Bitcoin is that it can be traded like money. You can buy and sell products online using bitcoins as currency as some shops accept Bitcoin payment.
The last and possibly the most appealing factor of Bitcoin is that you can invest in it like stocks. It’s a valuable alternative to traditional commodities like gold. However, this is one high-tier level type of investment that only the more seasoned trader is advised to dabble in.
Bitcoin is notorious for its extreme volatility. In 2017, the value of one Bitcoin started at $1,000 and ended the year at $19,000. As of writing, 1 Bitcoin equals $7,399.77. That’s a far decline from the $19,000 of 2017 and a huge loss for investors who hung on to Bitcoin’s market value, hoping it would increase even more. That’s how volatile the Bitcoin market is, but it’s been noted for being one of the highest-risk and highest-return investments out there.
Where can you invest in Bitcoin in the Philippines?
Despite initial trepidation, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has taken a regulatory approach to virtual currencies by releasing a list of BSP registered remittance and transfer companies that utilize virtual currency exchange services.
Here are the BSP approved Bitcoin exchanges:
1| Coins.ph (Betur Inc.)
2| BloomX (Bloomsolutions Inc.)
3| Rebit (Rebittance Inc.)
4| VHCEX (Virtual Currency Philippines, Inc.)
5| GOW (Etranss Remittance International Corp.)
6| PDAX (Fyntergrate, Inc.)
7| Juan Exchange (Zybi Tech, Inc.)
8| Coinvil (Coinville Phils, Inc.)
9| COEX Star (Aba Global Philippines, Inc.)
10| Bitan MoneyTech (Bitan Moneytech Co. Ltd. Inc.)
11| Telcoin (Telcoin Corp.)
12| ATC (Atomtrans Tech Corp.)
Depending on the exchange you plan to use, you can load up on Bitcoin in the Philippines through Palawan Pawnshops, 7-Eleven CLiQQ machines, WesternUnion, or M Lhullier.
If you’re just looking for a Bitcoin wallet and have no interest in investing or trading, then Coins.ph and Bitbit.cash are the most popular and trusted Bitcoin wallets in the country. Both allow you to load your wallet via banks and 7-Eleven.
One bank that’s leading in the local Bitcoin market is UnionBank, one of the largest banks in the country. It recently jumped onto the Bitcoin bandwagon by setting up a Bitcoin ATM in partnership with Coins.ph. It allows UnionBank users to withdraw from their cryptocurrency wallets (converting Bitcoin to cash first) and buy and sell bitcoins from the ATM, the first and only bank with an ATM solely for Bitcoin in the Philippines.
If you plan on going into Bitcoin, you'll need to brush up on your cryptocurrency knowledge and read far more articles than just this one. BitPinas offers the latest news and updates on all things Bitcoin in the Philippines, while MoneySmart also offers a comprehensive guide to Bitcoin. Like we mentioned before, Bitcoin is a volatile market, so it's essential you educate yourself on all things cyptocurrency if you plan to venture into Bitcoin in the Philippines.