Around the Block №1

Roundup of News on Bitcoin Remittances for Mid-February 2017

The Philippines dominated the news cycle briefly during the first week of February as the BSP’s new guidelines for Bitcoin exchange companies drew both interest and discussion.

Will New Regulations Help or Hurt Bitcoin Startups in the Philippines?

Originally published on Coindesk, February 15 2017 (LB)

Because of the way Philippine startups have been using bitcoin over the past three years, it appears that the BSP has latched on to this single use case more than any other.
The BSP does not appear to have a regulatory position on virtual currencies as an investment, a payment rail, a gambling platform or as a mechanism for offshoring personal assets — all of which are more common use cases for the technology than remittances.

After Surge in Transactions, Philippine Central Bank Regulates Bitcoin

Originally published on TechInAsia, February 9, 2017 (Judith Balea)

Luis Buenaventura, co-founder of BloomSolutions, dubbed the new rules well-meaning and a step forward but pointed out how it “overreaches by essentially treating Bitcoin business ideas in a one-size-fits-all way.”
“The idea that every Bitcoin company that performs currency conversion is now a ‘remittance’ company means that startup concepts like Bitpay won’t work here, because these types of business models aren’t fundamentally structured around money transfer but need to comply as if they were,” he explained. Bitpay is a payment processor that allows people to buy stuff from online vendors using Bitcoin instead of their credit cards.

Deconstructing the Invisible Bitcoin Remittance Solution

Originally published on BraveNewCoin, February 8, 2017 (LB)

Because Bitcoin can be sent in a matter of seconds from one party to another, it’s easy to pay for a remittance ad hoc. In practice, however, most high-volume remittance businesses would prefer to simply pre-fund their balances with Bitcoin, allowing them to only perform two to three large funding transactions per day, instead of 500 small ones.
Although this method may sound similar to the traditional way of doing things, it is still vastly superior to wiring US$1,000,000 to a destination country, waiting three banking days for it to arrive, and then being subjected to an unpredictable exchange rate when it gets converted to local currency.

The Philippine Central Bank Approves New Bitcoin Exchange Regulation

Originally published on BraveNewCoin, February 9, 2017 (Luke Parker)

Many social and technological indications show that the Philippines is an ideal market for Bitcoin, including a lagging banking infrastructure coupled with high smartphone adoption rates. However, despite the environment, Bitcoin’s primary reason for the strong growth in the Philippines has remained the popularity of using it as a backbone for remittance services.

SWIFT Reveals Future Global Payment Tech — Blockchain Not Included

Originally published on CoinDesk, February 17, 2017 (Michael del Castillo)

As part of the formal rollout, Swift (or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) revealed that 12 of the world’s largest banks have been conducting real-time transactions via its Global Payments Innovation (GPI) project for some months.
As of early this morning, initial GPI users — a group that includes the Bank of China, BBVA, Citi, ING Bank and Standard Chartered — will have conducted “tens of thousands of transactions” between 60 country corridors

Luis Buenaventura Highlights Bitcoin’s Strongest Use Case

Originally published on Bitcoin.com, February 17, 2017 (Jamie Redman)

Bitcoin is good for two things at the moment: long-term speculation and instant settlement. Unfortunately, volatility is a by-product of price discovery, so it’s difficult for people to use it for their daily expenses. However, because it’s relatively quick to send bitcoin from one wallet to another, it means we can use it to settle debts in real-time. The catch is that the receiving party needs to be able to liquidate it for fiat currency fairly quickly as well, in order to avoid potential volatility pitfalls.
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