PayMaya Philippines Inc. said it rolled out cryptocurrency feature through an all-in-one finance app that will enable Filipinos to easily buy and earn digital assets such as bitcoin and ethereum for as low as P1.
The new offering is part of the company’s overall thrust to go beyond payments by making financial services like crypto more accessible to the general public.
PayMaya is both an electronic money issuer and virtual asset services provider licensed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
“We are very excited to launch this feature, a big step up in making crypto accessible to every Filipino through their PayMaya app. Being at the forefront of digital payments and financial services, expanding into crypto is part of our roadmap as we build the Philippines’ most accessible end-to-end money platform,” said PayMaya president Shailesh Baidwan.
PayMaya is rolling out the feature progressively to its base. Aside from Bitcoin and Ethereum, other popular coins and tokens available for trading in the PayMaya app are Cardano, Chainlink, Uniswap, Solana, Quant, Polkadot, Polygon, and Tether.
PayMaya developed the feature under its Invest platform in connection with Coinbase Institutional. Coinbase is the largest publicly-traded crypto company in the world and the trusted bridge to the crypto-economy.
Coinbase Institutional offers a comprehensive suite of products and services including custody, prime brokerage, trading tools, and analytics, and an enterprise infrastructure built on top of a robust security platform. Coinbase Institutional provides the scale and stability needed to successfully participate in the crypto economy.
Cryptocurrency ownership and usage in the Philippines grew exponentially in the past years based on the Statista Global Consumer Survey data from 2019 to 2021. The country ranked third in a list of 56, with nearly three out of ten Filipino respondents to Statista’s survey mentioning they either owned or used a digital coin.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that transactions in virtual currency, including cryptocurrency, jumped by 71 percent to almost P106 billion in the first half of 2021 from P62.12 billion a year earlier. The number of transactions grew 4.6 times, reaching nearly 20 million in the same period.
“We see the rise in popularity of crypto, especially among our digital-first younger users. With the PayMaya e-wallet already a part of their everyday life for daily purchases and transactions, our customers now want to be able to buy and earn crypto smartly and seamlessly. That is why we are making it an integrated feature in our e-wallet app,” Baidwan said.
With crypto’s growing popularity, the BSP strengthened regulation in early 2021 to cover more types of VASPs and better guard against risks. VASPs are subject to the BSP’s licensing requirements, including rules governing money service businesses and strict anti-money laundering obligations.
PayMaya secured its VASP license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in January this year. A VASP is an entity that offers services or engages in activities “that provide facility for the transfer or exchange of virtual assets,” as defined by the BSP Circular No. 1108 on Guidelines for Virtual Asset Service Providers. Virtual assets include cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
It provides more than 44 million Filipinos access to financial services through its consumer platform as of end-20201.