Representative Kimi Cojuangco, a member of the Filipino House of Representatives, is pushing for an “e-Peso,” the Phil Star reports. House Bill 4914 would create the “e-Peso” as an online medium of exchange for Filipinos. The proposed bill would have the Filipino Central Bank research Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and decide what the best course of action would be. The e-Peso would be officially granted electronic legal tender status, according to Cojuangco:
What exists is a patchwork of methods using traditional credit systems, which act in place of money on the Internet. The E-peso is the electronic equivalent to the paper peso.
Central Bank of Philippines Will Research Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency
The bill mandates that the Filipino Central Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), study the technology of Bitcoin and “post Bitcoin cryptocurrencies.” According to the bill:
The BSP will also choose a system that uses peer to peer processing of the log chain and shall exert its utmost to leverage existing hardware being used by the other leading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
‘Existing hardware’ is an interesting term. As most Bitcoin enthusiasts, but few average folk, know, the Bitcoin network is currently being secured by expensive, energy consuming, Bitcoin ASIC miners. It has been this way for years now and many cryptocurrency experts agree that perhaps there is a more efficient way to achieve consensus than PoW. In contrast, the existing hardware that hosts Bitcoin nodes, or stakes post Bitcoin cryptocurrencies that use PoS, is a simple computer. It seems that the bill author was referring to regular computers, not ASICs, when referring to existing hardware. The Bill would mandate that every bank branch feature a computer that has the technical specifications to be used as a “local peer.” Given the current wording of the bill, it is not clear whether the e-Peso will be centralized or decentralized. It is possible that the Filipino government is seeking to create something that is distributed, at the very least. Though, the access to the e-Peso network is going to be limited to bank branches.
E-Peso Distribution Schedule
The bill plans to release an amount of e-Peso equal to 1% of the total supply of Philippine currency in circulation within one year. Additionally, the bill proposes that the amount of e-Peso in circulation should not ever exceed 1P million within the first two years. The distribution plans after that have not been revealed at all. The Philippines has not taken the drastic move of banning Bitcoin along with their announcement of a national digital currency, like Ecuador did.
Bitcoin is a rising force in the Philippines, which has large populations of migrant workers that are overseas and require cheaper methods to send remittances. In addition to the large populations of Filipinos abroad, there are also many home-grown online freelancers that provide services to companies around the world. Especially outside of America, people are eager to use something other than Western Union. E-Peso will help the Filipino people have access to online marketplaces that accept Peso; however, Bitcoin would open up the entire world’s online market to Filipinos.
Date: Published on June 10, 2014.