Coins.ph, the country’s leading platform for cryptocurrencies, confirmed that they now have 16 million users, roughly 16% of the country’s total population.
From 5 million in 2018 and around 10 million in 2020, Coins.ph has steadily grown its user base amidst the global rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
“2021 has been a year of significant adoption for the Philippine cryptocurrency market. We are excited to share this milestone with our users, and promise to continue improving our e-wallet and virtual currency services to cater to this growing demand,” Nauman Mustafa, CEO of Coins.ph, said in a statement.
Philippines as a crypto hub
Few Filipinos have access to banks or even bank accounts, but almost everyone has a smartphone. For this reason, it makes sense that cryptocurrency became so popular in the Philippines because just about everyone can open an account online hassle-free.
The growing popularity of play2earn gaming is another driver encouraging Filipinos to explore crypto usage and the use of crypto wallets such as Ronin. In fact, many merchants now prefer receiving payments in Axie Infinity’s Smooth Love Potion (SLP) token, so they can also breed their Axies and gain more income.
With many Filipinos using cryptos as an investment, form of entertainment, as well as a daily payment method, the Philippines is expected to become an even more popular country with cryptocurrency use this year. In fact, the Philippines already ranks third in cryptocurrency adoption behind Nigeria and Vietnam.
On the back of these developments, the leading cryptocurrency exchange platform Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) raised US$12.5 million in funding, after their monthly volume transactions rose 80x during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[Certainly] people find it worth their while to derive income from playing games and earning tokens that need to be exchanged for Philippine peso. So PDAX, being an exchange that aims to provide liquidity for these tokens, sees itself supporting that space by providing faster and more efficient conversions,” said PDAX founder Nichel Gaba.
The country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, has also recognized the potential of cryptocurrencies to achieve their goal of financial inclusion, especially for low-income Filipinos and those in remote areas that traditional financial service providers like banks cannot reach.
However, crypto users must be careful, as cryptocurrencies are not yet properly categorized in terms of income taxation under Philippine law. Lawyers note that since gross income means all forms from whatever source, cryptocurrency transactions can be considered as “income,” and should still form part of one’s taxable portfolio.