CRYPTOCURRENCY transactions in the Philippines rose 362% as of the first half, in line with the broader growth in digital financial transactions, the central bank said.

“The volume of transactions involving virtual assets grew 362% year on year to nearly 20 million in June 2021. These transactions were worth P105.93 billion in June, up 71% over the same period,” Mr. Diokno said in an online briefing Thursday.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said such transactions with virtual asset service providers continue to gain traction, though they come with risks.

“Deal only with registered virtual asset service providers. Be reminded that virtual assets are not considered legal tender and not insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.,” Mr. Diokno said.

He said the value of e-money transactions rose 62% year on year.

Mr. Diokno said there are 64 licensed electronic money issuers (EMIs), of which 35 are non-bank EMIs.

In November, the BSP announced that it will close applications period for non-bank financial institutions seeking to become EMIs.

Mr. Diokno said all applications received by the BSP until Dec. 15 will be processed on a first-come, first served basis, and those are found to be deficient will be returned and not attended to.

“We have to recalibrate our approach in order to have a better understanding and ability to deal with the evolving nature and increasing complexity of e-money solutions and market players,” he said. — Luz Wendy T. Noble