Binance, billed as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is looking to expand its operations into the Philippines as cryptocurrency becomes more and more popular in the country.
Binance founder and CEO Zhao Changpeng said that the Philippines is “very important” for the cryptocurrency platform. He cited the country’s advanced payment services, mobile penetration, smartphone adoption, tech talents and understanding of crypto as some of the reasons why.
The move will see Binance pour investment into local banks and payment service providers. This will allow the platform to provide more localized services, making it more convenient for Filipino users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and access other payments solutions.
To legally operate in the Philippines, Binance is looking to get two licenses – a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license and the EMI license – from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank.
The VASP license will allow Binance to provide services such as buying, selling and exchanging virtual assets. The EMI license will enable the platform to issue electronic money, which can be used to settle remittances and payments. Remittances are a major use case for cryptocurrency in the Philippines, as overseas filipino workers (OFWs) send home around $31.4 billion annually.
“Binance today is more than a cryptocurrency exchange. It is a full crypto ecosystem. Besides Spot, Futures, et cetera, we also have Binance Pay, Trust Wallet, and Coinmarketcap. We also contribute to the BNB Chain, one of the world’s most active blockchains,” said Zhao.
He added that their platform will be beneficial for creating new business models, such as micro-payments, NFTs, and tokenizing content and different interactions.
This isn’t Binance’s first attempt to set up shop in Southeast Asia. In late 2021, Binance pulled the plug on its plan to set up operations in Singapore. Binance Asia Services Ltd, the group behind the move, said that it took a global view of strategic, commercial, and developmental factors into account before deciding to withdraw its Singapore application.
Their decision to enter the Philippine market is seen as a vote of confidence in the country’s economy and its regulatory environment. There are now over 16 million cryptocurrency users in the Philippines, according to 2021 data from Coins.ph – about 16% of the country’s total population.