Uber and GrabCar

For immediate release – Following the Philippine government’s regulation of both Uber and GrabCar, the newly elected board of the Bitcoin Organization of the Philippines (BOP) seeks to create a similar legal framework for the cryptocurrency.

In the wake of the Philippine government regulating both Uber and GrabCar, the newly elected board of the Bitcoin Organization of the Philippines (BOP) aims to work with Banko Sental ng Pilipinas (BSP) to create a similar legal framework for the cryptocurrency.

“If you had told me a few years ago that the Philippine government would be collaborating with the tech world, I would not have believed you. But things have changed. The government has realized that the key to our country’s prosperity is technology, and the next sector we must regulate within it is crystal clear: Bitcoin,” said Joe Maristela, one of the newly elected BOP board members.

Maristela is a serial entrepreneur in the healthcare industry; an angel investor who recently led the seed round of Bitcoin umbrella company, Satoshi Citadel Industries; and the co-founder and publisher behind Cointelegraph Philippines. He also wants to influence Bitcoin regulation at the political level, as he plans on running for public office in 2016 (Kagawad of the Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City).

Maristela is joined on the board by John Bailon, the CEO and co-founder of Satoshi Citadel Industries, as well as JJ Disini, the managing partner of Disini & Disini Law Office. The three are the freshly elected board members for the first and only SEC registered non-profit organization dedicated to advancing Bitcoin adoption in the Philippines, which was founded in 2014.

The BOP was formed partly in response to the BSP, who approached the fledgling Bitcoin community in the Philippines and advised them that having an official organization could best help its advancement and regulation.

The BOP board believes that Bitcoin should be the next focus of the Philippine government because it can prove to be a valuable conduit for remittances. Filipinos who send domestic or international remittances via Bitcoin will save money in comparison to sending the same amount via traditional money transfer services. This immediately benefits the remitter, of course, but also the country, as the saved money is pumped back into the economy through spend at other businesses.

“Uber and GrabCar were regulated because they serve the Filipino people: They make traveling from point A to point B easier, cheaper, and more efficient. In much the same way, Bitcoin should be regulated because it also serves the Filipino people: It makes sending money from point A to point B easier, cheaper, and more efficient,” said Maristela.

Maristela and the BOP board understand that Bitcoin regulation will not come easy. They are prepared to evangelize the benefits of Bitcoin all across the Philippines, holding educational workshops, informal meetups, and other events.

“Trying to drive Bitcoin adoption is always an uphill battle. Yet I find confidence in knowing that Filipinos are some of the most tech savvy people in the world. Just look at where Uber and GrabCar were a year or two ago, and where they are today, with their recent legalization. I believe that Bitcoin can find similar acceptance in the Philippines,” said Maristela.

The BOP welcomes membership from both individuals as well as businesses, who also have a stake in Bitcoin adoption. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that choose to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment open themselves up to new markets and revenue streams.

“For SMEs in the Philippines, Bitcoin is like what websites probably were in the early 1990s. Cryptocurrency sounds strange, and making the effort to accept it might seem unnecessary, but if you have the vision to do so at this stage, you are setting yourself up for success in the future,” said Maristela.

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