Philippines Launches Blockchain-Based App for Bond Investment with UnionBank and PDAX

… launches an app for the distribution of retail treasury bonds enabled by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The app, called Bonds.PH, claims to …

The Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), together with Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX), launches an app for the distribution of retail treasury bonds enabled by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

The app, called Bonds.PH, claims to make bond investing easy. It is blockchain-enabled with transactions recorded on a DLT-based registry in addition to the existing system.

Leveraging DLT enables immutable and tamper-proof record-keeping. As such, DLT reduces manual verification and simplifies reconciliation bringing down processing time and costs.

Filipinos, including the unbanked and overseas workers, can invest in retail treasury bonds by downloading the app which is completely digital and available 24/7. They can make their investments using e-wallets, online banking and over-the-counter purchases for as low as USD 100.

BTr sanctioned the initiative as a first step to determine if leveraging DLT would enable retail treasury bond distribution to the unbanked feasible and economically viable.

Rosalia V. De Leon

Rosalia V. De Leon

Philippine National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon said,

“The launch of Bonds.PH paves the way for all Filipinos, particularly the unbanked, to easily and affordably invest in the BTr’s newest retail treasury bond, RTB-24 or the Progreso Bonds. The mobile app presents a compelling opportunity for all to invest and help the Republic raise funds for economic recovery and COVID-19 response.”

The Philippine SEC is among the more progressive regulators in the world having released rules on crowdfunding, as well as draft rules on digital assets and digital exchanges.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Central Bank, Bangkok Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP), lauded the initiative for its impact on inclusive prosperity,

Benjamin Diokno

Benjamin Diokno

“Given our advocacy to accelerate the digital delivery of financial services while deepening financial inclusion, we view Bonds.PH as a welcome addition to the expanding suite of available financial products serving wide market segments via innovative delivery channels and bridging the financially excluded,”

said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

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‘No evidence Wirecard fund entered Philippines’

… of German financial technology leader Wirecard AG entered the Philippines, but vowed to punish any individual found culpable of wrongdoing.

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) have insisted that none of the missing $2.1 billion funds of German financial technology leader Wirecard AG entered the Philippines, but vowed to punish any individual found culpable of wrongdoing.

In a joint statement, both bodies reiterated that the alleged missing funds did not enter the Philippine financial system as earlier pointed out by BSP Governor and AMLC chairman Benjamin Diokno.

“As has been previously stated, current available evidence shows that the money did not enter the Philippine banking system,” BSP and AMLC said in the statement.

Both BDO Unibank and Bank of the Philippine Islands have denied that Wirecard was a client and the certifications presented by the German firm’s auditor, Ernst & Young, were spurious and illegally issued by junior officers.

Banks are mandated to submit suspicious transaction reports (STRs) to the AMLC for transactions exceeding P500,000 as such amount triggers the filing of a covered transaction report.

“We have systems in place that send us red flags in case of huge/suspicious transactions,” the statement read.

Both BSP and AMLC swiftly launched a multi-pronged investigation into the matter last June to determine if illicit funds entered the country.

Investigation by the central bank’s Financial Supervision Sector focusing on determining a breach in any banking regulations is well underway, while AMLC is determining any violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, as amended.

“Strong financial oversight has always been one of the hallmarks of the Philippines’ economic success. Over the years, the BSP has instituted reforms that have promoted good corporate governance and effective risk management systems,” BSP and AMLC said.

These include strict regulations on the disqualification and watch listing of erring bank officers that prevent individuals found as unfit from becoming officers in all BSP-supervised entities.

“These measures will be used with their full force against any individual found culpable of wrongdoing,” the agencies said.

The AMLC has also issued regulations in relation to the identification of the beneficial owner of accounts, as well as guidelines for designated non-financial businesses and professions, which cover the so-called gatekeepers, such as lawyers and accountants, requiring them to comply with their obligations under the AMLA, as amended, on know-your-customer requirements, recordkeeping, and transaction-reporting.

“We continue to emphasize the importance of well-established risk culture in supervised entities. It is because of a sound regulatory environment and proactive industry response that the Philippine banking system has remained strong and stable, playing a significant role in fueling economic growth over the years,” BSP and AMLC said.

Both BSP and AMLC are working closely with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the Wirecard scandal and are open to coordination with concerned international authorities to hold unscrupulous individuals accountable.

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New offerings bolster GCash

Most fintech [financial technology] companies in the Philippines battle for the most convenient products, but it is high time for everyone to start talking …

New offerings bolster GCash

September 15, 2019

GCASH, an electronic-cash services provider backed by Globe Telecom Inc., continues to expand its reach in the local cashless economy by introducing new services to attract more users.

In this regard, GCash recently expanded its partnership with Puregold Price Club Inc. to allow its users to load their account via a barcode in all the listed supermarket operator’s branches.

“You put the amount that you want on the GCash app, then we generate the barcode and you [hand over] your cash and it’s done,” Globe President and Chief Executive Officer Ernest Cu said at the service’s launch in Taguig City on Tuesday.

For his part, Puregold President Vincent Co said there were 65 Puregold stores — out of 354 across the country as of 2018 — with exclusive lanes for GCash.

The e-wallet is operated by Mynt, which is a partnership between Globe, its parent firm Ayala Corp., and Ant Financial.

“Puregold and GCash have been longtime partners in providing useful innovations to Filipinos. By tapping Puregold checkout counters as cash-in points, we encourage more people to discover and enjoy the convenience of going cashless,” Fred Levy, Mynt’s chief commercial officer for transfers, said in a statement.

On Wednesday, GCash also unveiled its Customer Protect program that offers up to P100,000 as compensation for unauthorized financial transactions using GCash on the Messenger or GCash Mastercard platforms.

“It’s actually elevating the financial landscape. Most fintech [financial technology] companies in the Philippines battle for the most convenient products, but it is high time for everyone to start talking about security. If you are able to provide this platform you should be able to back it up and protect users, as well,” GCash Risk Policy Lead

Louie Miguel Santos said.

Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ:SELB) Upgraded at ValuEngine

Two Sigma Investments LP grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 87.8% during the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 200,498 …

Selecta Biosciences logoSelecta Biosciences (NASDAQ:SELB) was upgraded by ValuEngine from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Thursday, ValuEngine reports.

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on SELB. Mizuho reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $4.00 target price on shares of Selecta Biosciences in a research report on Friday, May 10th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Selecta Biosciences from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 11th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. Selecta Biosciences currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $8.04.

Shares of NASDAQ SELB opened at $2.08 on Thursday. The firm has a 50-day simple moving average of $1.82. The firm has a market capitalization of $86.45 million, a PE ratio of -0.71 and a beta of 1.17. Selecta Biosciences has a 52 week low of $1.41 and a 52 week high of $16.55.

Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ:SELB) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, May 9th. The company reported ($0.31) EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.37) by $0.06. The business had revenue of $0.01 million during the quarter. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Selecta Biosciences will post -1.35 earnings per share for the current year.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in SELB. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 17.9% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 175,308 shares of the company’s stock valued at $466,000 after acquiring an additional 26,568 shares in the last quarter. Barclays PLC grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 87.6% during the fourth quarter. Barclays PLC now owns 12,661 shares of the company’s stock valued at $34,000 after acquiring an additional 5,911 shares in the last quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 87.8% during the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 200,498 shares of the company’s stock valued at $533,000 after acquiring an additional 93,719 shares in the last quarter. Two Sigma Advisers LP grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 18.3% during the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Advisers LP now owns 54,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $146,000 after acquiring an additional 8,500 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 23.5% during the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 345,046 shares of the company’s stock valued at $918,000 after acquiring an additional 65,623 shares in the last quarter. 49.67% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Selecta Biosciences

Selecta Biosciences, Inc, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, researches and develops nanoparticle immunomodulatory drugs for the treatment and prevention of human diseases. Its proprietary pipeline includes therapeutic enzymes, gene therapies, and other products and product candidates affected by undesired immune responses.

Recommended Story: Cash Flow

To view ValuEngine’s full report, visit ValuEngine’s official website.

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Philippines central bank warns about unregistered crypto exchanges

As a safeguard against unregistered virtual currency exchanges, BSP-supervised financial institutions, upon onboarding and during transaction …

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has issued a memo warning banks to be more stringent when dealing with cryptocurrency businesses. The regulator urged commercial banks to be strict with their risk management protocols when dealing with crypto exchanges to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing through cryptos.

In the memo, the deputy governor of the BSP Chuchi Fonacier reminded banks to ensure that they only deal with exchanges that have received a license to operate from the BSP. The regulator has now issued the license to 11 exchanges. The latest was BitanMoneytech Co. Ltd. which received the license a month ago. Fonacier stated:

As a safeguard against unregistered virtual currency exchanges, BSP-supervised financial institutions, upon onboarding and during transaction monitoring, should exercise extra caution and vigilance as well as perform enhanced due diligence, as necessary, in accordance with their Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Program as prescribed under existing regulation.

The Philippines has continued taking to cryptos rapidly, with the volume of crypto trades doubling to $390 million in 2018, a year in which cryptos took a huge price hit. With the country being the fourth-largest remittances receiver in the world and with over 75% of the population being unbanked, cryptos have found fertile ground.

This popularity of cryptos requires the banks to be extra vigilant, Fonacier stated. They should conduct risk assessment of the crypto exchanges, considering such factors as types of clients, business operations, distribution channels, products and services availed and anticipated account activity.

Additionally, banks must verify the exchanges’ registration with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). In the Philippines, a crypto exchange must register with the AMLC in order to start operations.

Banks must implement robust systems that can identify unusual movement of funds by the crypto exchanges. This will enable them to investigate transactions and determine if filing a suspicious transaction report is warranted.

The BSP has so far issued licenses to 11 crypto exchanges. In April, it emerged that the regulator had issued licenses to three crypto exchanges namely ABA Global Phils Inc., Coinville Phils Inc. and Bexpress Inc. Other exchanges that have previously received licenses to operate include Rebittance Inc., Zybi Tech Inc. and Virtual Currency Philippines Inc.

However, despite the surging crypto popularity, the BSP has stated that it remains lukewarm on crypto. According to one senior BSP official, terrorist financing, money laundering and the price volatility of most cryptos were the main factors putting off the BSP.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.

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