Philippines’ Union Bank Launches First Two-Way Crypto ATM In The Country


Union Bank, one of Philippines top banks, is reportedly launching the first two-way crypto ATM in the country, according to a report in local news outlet Philstar published on earlier this February.

The bank’s move is part of its “sandbox” project- where the institution will trial the system by letting its customers use the ATM to buy and sell crypto for cash.

Philstar reports that the new system fully complies with the country’s current regulations, and was made possible as a result of Union Bank’s collaboration with the Philippine central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

According to the publication, Union Bank released a statement that explained the project, stating that the launched ATM would provide users with “an alternative channel” that will allow them to convert local pesos into virtual currencies or vice versa easily.

Notably, though, the media report does not give any details concerning the specific digital currencies that the experiment intends to support.

Union Bank ranks among the top ten banks in the Philippines, with its reported earnings for 2018 put at 7.32 billion pesos (approximately $140 million).

And with assets that put it at among the top financial institutions, the bank’s move could be a significant one in a country that has seen considerable growth within the crypto and blockchain sector- partly due to an increasingly friendly environment.

The country’s central, the BSP, has for the last two years helped promote the sector, a good example being its decision to legalize bitcoin as a payment method.

The bank has also offered regulatory oversight over local crypto exchanges, which also operate as remittance companies, a move that has strengthened the industry since the BSP first published its Circular 944 in early 2017.

Recently, the country saw the introduction of a new regulatory framework targeting digital assets- the Digital Asset Token Offering (DATO).

The new regulations came into force after being introduced by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, and are reportedly intended to see robust regulatory measures put into place to help the crypto industry as well as protect investors.

Among areas of note are things to do with acquiring crypto assets, which includes purchase and holding of utility and security tokens. One of the requirements is that token issuers must ensure they list the token with the Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange (OVCE), a regulated entity.

Bitcoin ATMs are becoming increasingly popular around the world, with vendors looking to increase presence in many regions outside the U.S. and Europe. Asia and Latin America are prime targets due to the rapid growth of crypto usage.

Bitcoin ATM operator Coinsource received New York’s BitLicense late last year before another firm- the LibertyX- announced the public would now get an opportunity to buy bitcoin using debit cards.

In November, Coinatmradar revealed that the total number of crypto in the world was close to hitting 4,000, which could have been surpassed given that several have been launched since then.

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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