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MANILA – UNO Digital Bank will eventually offer cryptocurrency investments on its app, its top official said on Wednesday, despite the sector falling sharply following the collapse of global player FTX.

Manish Bhai, Founder and CEO of UNO Digital Bank, said FTX’s bankruptcy has not affected their plans to offer crypto investments to clients.

“What we want to achieve, and what our goal is, is just a one-stop interface to meet all the financial needs of your life. That is, save, borrow, transact, protect, and invest. Now when you look at investing, to complete the investment proposition, at some point cryptocurrency is a key ingredient of that,” Bhai said.

But Bhai also clarified that they will not be pursuing crypto trading soon.

“We think our strength is our own balance sheet, and we really want to focus on building the deposit book and the loan book. Then focus on insurance we start, then investments, then we We’ll look at the life side, and other factors like crypto coming in 2024.”

CRYPTO IS NOT DEAD?

Marvin Germo, a certified financial planner and known cryptocurrency investor and enthusiast, said that the collapse of FTX will strengthen the cryptocurrency industry.

He said FTX’s downfall was due to fraud and mismanagement and not Bitcoin’s failure as a decentralized asset and coin.

“I think it hurts in the short term, but in the long term it will do the following: usher in regulations that will try to clamp down on this; eliminate bad actors in this space; force investors to be more demanding; focus on good cryptocurrencies and projects; and push people to put their crypto in hot or cold (safer) wallets (online/offline storage devices).

Germo added that “FTX is not big” in the Philippines.

“I think for the Filipinos, they’ve been affected from a contagion perspective because it’s taken all the pieces down and the sentiment and confidence as a whole,” Germo said.

Despite the crypto market rout, interest in digital assets remains high.

According to data from We Are Social, as of October this year, 23.7% of Filipino internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 own some form of cryptocurrency. This is the third highest percentage of respondents in We Are Social’s Global Statshot report. The world average is only 12.3%.

Meanwhile, the largest fintech companies in the Philippines are offering or are about to offer cryptocurrency trading.

Fintech giant Maya has been offering crypto trading since April this year. Maya has not yet responded to requests for data on how many of its users are actually using the encryption feature, but sources within the company say demand and interest have remained steady.

GCash, meanwhile, is gearing up to launch its own crypto investing feature.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, meanwhile, notes that the Philippine government is still working on regulations covering the ownership, sale, and purchase of all forms of digital assets.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, virtual currency transactions increased by 362% in June 2021 compared to the same period the previous year. The total value of these transactions reached 105.93 billion pesos, up 71% year-on-year. The data comes from virtual asset service providers registered with the Central Bank of the Philippines.

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