Filipino regulators deserve praise for the pace at which they are regulating the digital asset and blockchain industry, fostering innovation while still protecting investors. This is according to Mark Vernon, the co-founder and vice chairman of the Fintech Philippines Association, who says the Southeast Asian country can be a world leader in blockchain.
“We’re probably more ahead than anywhere else. I’ve been to other countries where regulations stifle the growth, especially where it intersects with banking and fiat money,” Vernon told CoinGeek Backstage host Claire Celdran on the sidelines of the Philippine Fintech Festival.
Vernon commended the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for its hands-on approach to Bitcoin regulations in the country.
The central bank has been regulating virtual asset service providers (VASPs) for the past five years, creating an environment that has seen Filipinos invest in and experiment with digital assets with confidence.
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Vernon called on developers to build applications that go beyond digital assets and payments. He believes there’s a lot of value in applications that run on blockchain technology, but this area remains untapped.
One particular market he believes blockchain could impact is the real estate market. While some startups have taken a stab at this market, few have not had any luck. Vernon says that this has mostly been due to a lack of enabling regulations, as governments tend to be very slow in changing their laws.
“I think there might be some hybrid approaches where you issue tokens that represent property where the government still has control of data, and you have proof of ownership which you can then use to facilitate loans or do other things.”
Yet another area that could be an easy win for the Philippines is on-chain Know Your Customer (KYC), which he says would make it easier for “financial companies to get people on board.”