Union Bank of Philippines Set to work with Blockchain and Bitcoin
Philippines to Bitcoin
Bitcoin has been a legal tender in the Philippines since 2016 when the government officially regulated crypto exchanges as remittance firms, giving financial institutions the go-ahead to use cryptos in facilitating remittances and particular usages.
“The Bangko Sentral does not intend to endorse any cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, as a currency since it is neither issued or guaranteed by a central bank nor backed by any commodity. Rather, the Bangko Sentral aims to regulate cryptocurrecies when used for delivery of financial service, particularly, for payments and remittances, which have a material impact on anti-money laundering, combating the financing of terrorism, consumer protection and financial stability,” the Central Bank circular read back in March 2017.
According to reports, a top official of the UnionBank of Philippines was seen operating Bitcoin miners at a corporate event on May 26, 2018. Although the bank has not officially commented on the matter, the possibility of the financial institution starting its long scale bitcoin mining cannot be ruled out at this time.
Blockchain & Bitcoin
The UnionBank has been experimenting with blockchain technology for quite some time now. Earlier in 2018, the innovative financial institution developed its flagship digital bank called “The Ark.” The initiative eliminates the use of paper tellers in banking as customers are handed iPads to carry out their regular banking operations such as deposits and cash withdrawals.
Ark also integrated virtual reality into its system. The platform uses VR to allow customers to “experience” a car or choice property they like before granting them loans to purchase them. “The blockchain technology is one of those technologies that are predicted to really alter the face of banking,” said Unionbank president and CEO Edwin Bautista.
Fast forward to May 21, 2018, and UnionBank has announced it’s taking its blockchain solution a notch further by linking rural banks in the same way Bancnet and SWIFT have connected in one of larger financial institutions.
The bank has hinted that at least six rural banks will be used in the pilot and others will be added as time goes on. The project which has gained the approval of the central bank is aimed at facilitating quicker banking transactions.
“With blockchain, the steps involved in transactions will be drastically cut down from 25 to just three. Blockchain will undoubtedly crack the code of financial inclusivity,”
said the UnionBank chair, Justo Ortiz during the launch of the Blockchain Association of the Philippines.
Ortiz also noted that the initiative is primarily focused on the unbanked members of the society who mostly live in rural communities.