​​GCash, the Philippines’ leading fintech to offer crypto trading, mulls IPO

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GCash is setting its sights on cryptocurrency trading, a logical step for the platform that has grown to become the Philippines’ biggest financial services app so far.

In recent years, cryptocurrency trading has seen tremendous growth among Filipinos. The country’s pioneer crypto platform Coins.ph now has around 10 million users. GCash CEO Martha Sazon says that they are seriously planning to tap into this growing user base, pending the finalization of a deal with an unnamed partner.

Last year, GCash processed around $20 billion in transactions, and aims to double this by the end of 2021. To date, the app has amassed 46 million app users with a daily transaction volume of $200,000.

The GCash platform is also vying to become a super app and has rolled out new features like GInvest, which allows users to invest in local and global funds, and GInsure for users who encounter medical emergencies. In October 2020, the company partnered with Myanmar’s Goama Games to offer in-app mobile gaming.

Globe Telecom president and CEO Ernest Cu said that they are also looking at a public listing for GCash, but the details are not yet clear and Cu said that they are not in a rush.

Crypto boom ahead

The Philippines’ central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has increasingly recognized the contribution of virtual assets such as the GCash offerings to financial inclusion and the digital economy, and has announced that it is considering the issuance of digital currencies following other central banks in the region.

In a report, BSP also noted that the value of transactions from virtual currency exchanges (VCEs) reached $1.7 billion as of end-September 2020, 500% more than the $295 million recorded in end-September 2019.

While BSP is keen to welcome crypto, it has also been careful to fully open the crypto floodgates. Early this year, BSP tightened regulations to help increase consumer confidence and eventually contribute to the growth of the crypto sector in the country.

“Existing VASPs such as COINS.PH and PDAX provide a great service by allowing retail investors to easily access and acquire virtual assets which have enormous potential for growth. However, they must be sufficiently regulated to secure the stability of our financial system and give the Filipino people much needed peace of mind when they invest their hard-earned money,” caution analysts from DivinaLaw.

Related article:

Will Philippines’ new national ID push the pedal on the digital economy?

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