SBI Remit Expands Ripple XRP Based Remittance Services

Today, SBI Remit, a subsidiary of SBI Group that specializes in providing services for international money transfers, made the announcement that it would expand its remittance services that are based on XRP to bank accounts in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. These three countries are: Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The digital asset known as XRP is used by the service in the capacity of a bridge currency to facilitate real-time, low-cost international payments.

SBI is making calculated moves into the cryptocurrency market. Recently, the Japanese financial conglomerate led a $36 million Series A funding round for Zodia Custody, as reported by Blockchain.News, a cryptocurrency custody subsidiary of Standard Chartered. With this investment, SBI Holdings has reportedly become the second-largest shareholder in Zodia Custody.

The Situation

Since 2017, SBI Remit has been able to improve the quality of its international money transfer services by integrating Ripple Payments. The firm launched a crypto-enabled solution in 2021 that made use of XRP, making it the first product of its sort to be released in Japan. The service at first focused on cryptocurrency wallets located in the Philippines.

The expansion into Southeast Asian markets

According to the most recent release, the scope of SBI Remit’s XRP-based remittance services will now be expanded to cover bank accounts in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. “These countries have a high share of bank account-based remittances, and we expect accelerated adoption in the future,” the business said in a statement.

Ripple’s technology is increasingly becoming a go-to solution for remittance services, thanks to its real-time, low-cost transaction capabilities. In 2021, Blockchain.News reported that Ripple entered into a strategic partnership with MoneyGram, a leading player in the global remittance market.

Specifications and Formulas

As part of the recently implemented plan, SBI Remit will be responsible for transmitting client remittance requests to the firm, which would then prompt a real-time transfer of XRP. Customers will now have the ability to receive monies in their respective local currencies as a result of the company’s partnership with TRANGLO Pte. Ltd., a market leader in the sector of money transfers.

Advantage over Competitors

SBI Remit’s goal is to provide quick and inexpensive money transfer services to its customers by using XRP as a bridge currency. According to the official statement, “The system may have the capability of enhancing competitiveness in the international money transfer business.” SBI Remit uses a technology called Ripple Payments, which has the ability to reduce the costs associated with money transfers and allow real-time settlements.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Forsage Founders Indicted for Alleged $340 Million “Global Ponzi” Scheme on Ethereum Blockchain

A federal grand jury in the District of Oregon has handed down indictments against the individuals who are believed to have been the masterminds behind the “global Ponzi” scam known as Forsage, which is said to have generated $340 million.

According to a statement released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on February 22, the four Russian founders, Vladimir Okhotnikov, Olena Oblamska, Mikhail Sergeev, and Sergey Maslakov, have been formally accused of having key roles in the scheme that raised approximately $340 million from victim-investors. This information comes from the formal accusation.

U.S. Attorney Natalie Wight for the District of Oregon stated that “today’s indictment is the result of a rigorous investigation that spent months piecing together the systematic theft of hundreds of millions of dollars.” She also stated that “bringing charges against foreign actors who used new technology to commit fraud in an emerging financial market is a complicated endeavor only possible with the full and complete coordination of multiple law enforcement agencies.”

Forsage promoted itself as a low-risk, decentralized financial platform that was based on the Ethereum blockchain and offered customers the opportunity to create passive income over the long term. Blockchain analytics, on the other hand, allegedly shown that eighty percent of Forsage “investors” got back less money than they had initially contributed.

Analysis of the smart contracts, as reported by the Department of Justice (DOJ), indicated that monies that were obtained when new investors acquired “slots” in Forsage’s smart contracts were routed to older investors, which is consistent with the definition of a “Ponzi scheme.”

Forsage has an active Twitter account, on which they recently posted a thread saying that community members who take part in “The Ambassador Program” will be able to receive monthly incentives by accomplishing certain activities. The tweet was published on February 22.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges of fraud and selling unregistered securities against the company’s four founders and seven promoters on August 1. At the time, acting chief of the SEC’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit Carolyn Welshhans said: “Fraudsters cannot circumvent the federal securities laws by focusing their schemes on smart contracts and blockchains.”

Back in 2020, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission had also raised concerns about Forsage, indicating that it may be a Ponzi scheme. However, one month later, the platform remained the second-most popular decentralized application (DApp) on the Ethereum blockchain.

When a prosecutor brings criminal charges against an individual or group and accuses them of committing an offense, this is referred to as a charge. However, an indictment is filed by a grand jury if prosecutors are successful in persuading a majority of the grand jury members that a formal accusation is warranted following an investigation.

The use of grand juries is widespread practice in the prosecution of significant federal and state criminal crimes.


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The Philippines SEC seeks to bring cryptocurrencies under its scope

In a new set of proposed regulations, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines wants to expand its jurisdiction over the local cryptocurrency business so that it may regulate cryptocurrencies and put them under its purview.

A report that was published on a local news site on January 25 said that the securities regulator has put out for public comment draught regulations pertaining to financial goods and services. These rules encompass cryptocurrencies as well as digital financial products, according to the article.

In a statement, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claimed that the proposed regulations would make a recently passed bill effective and provide it with “rule-making, surveillance, inspection, market monitoring, and greater enforcement authorities.”

The recommendations broaden the definition of a security such that it now include “tokenized securities products” as well as other financial products that make use of blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT).

The SEC will also be responsible for regulating other types of financial goods, including digital financial products and services related to those that may be accessed and supplied via digital channels, as well as the suppliers of such products and services.

In a similar vein, the power to enforce rules governing securities is increased. The SEC has the authority to place limits on the amount of interest, fees, and charges that service providers may collect.

In addition to this, the regulator would have the authority to remove from their positions any directors, executives, or other employees who were found to be in violation of the laws. Additionally, it has the potential to halt all operations of a company.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is authorised by local laws to develop its own guidelines for the application of laws within its jurisdiction. In addition, the Philippines’ central bank and the country’s insurance regulator are authorised to develop guidelines for the implementation of related laws.

The recent turn of events signifies a continuation of the harsh crackdown that the regulator is exerting on cryptocurrencies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a public warning against utilising unregistered exchanges that were functioning inside the nation before the end of December 2022. The commission said that a number of exchanges were “illegally permitting” Filipinos to use their platforms.

The Philippines’ central bank said in August 2022 that it will stop accepting new applications from virtual asset service providers for the next three years. The bank anticipates that it would resume accepting applications on September 1, 2025.


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Esports, Web3 Firm Ampverse Expands into the Philippines

Esports and Web3 company Ampverse has expanded into the Philippines, making it the fifth market.


With the expansion, Ampverse plans to invest more than 100 million pesos in the Southeast Asian country’s local gaming and esports ecosystem. 

The investment will focus on boosting esports, talent, commerce, and Web3.

Ferdinand Gutierrez, CEO of Ampverse, said, “the gaming scene in the Philippines is flourishing; over the past several years, we have witnessed incredible developments, and the landscape is now ripe for further growth and success. As a Filipino myself, I’m excited to go back to my roots and build something special in this thriving market. My mission is to grow the Filipino gaming ecosystem to world-class status.”

Along with the Philippine escalation, Ampverse has also signed with an amateur Mobile Legends esports team which will play under the Minana brand. The team has reportedly won 11 straight Mobile Legends championships.

Meanwhile, Ampverse has appointed Julius “Banoobs” Mariano as Regional Expansion Manager. Banoobs previously worked for Twitch as Country Manager Philippines and has become well known as a Filipino gaming executive who is also a streamer with a 100,000+ strong social media following.

“Mat (Chief Gaming Officer, Ampverse) and I helped establish and grow the gaming scene in the Philippines nearly a decade ago at Twitch, so it’s a dream to be working together again with our common aim to innovate and build the foundations for the next decade of Filipino gaming,” said Banoobs. 

Meanwhile, Julius is charged with bolstering the Ampverse team on the ground in the Philippines. He will spearhead Ampverse’s growth in-market and will be followed by a number of new hires in the coming months across esports, sales, marketing, operations and web3.

Founded in 2019, Ampverse has entered Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. The company is currently working on expanding into the Indonesian market by late 2022.

Image source: Ampverse


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Philippines Central Bank to Suspend Issuing Licenses to New Virtual Asset Service Firms

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Central bank of the Philippines, announced on Thursday that it would close the regular application window for new virtual asset services providers (VASP) licenses for a period of three years beginning September 1.

VASPs are firms that offer certain services associated with virtual assets or cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

The Philippine Central Bank said it reached the move because it wants “to strike a balance between promoting innovation in the financial sector and ensuring that associated risks remain within manageable levels.”

The regulator stated it would conduct a reassessment based on market developments. In other words, the strategic change would enable the watchdog to monitor the performance of current market players and the risks they pose to the financial industry. The agency further said the move would allow it to assess the impacts of existing digital asset providers concerning the country’s financial inclusion and digital payments transformation objectives.

The Bangko Sentral said that central bank-supervised institutions that intend to expand offerings to virtual-asset services like custody may still apply for a license.

The regulator stated that all applications that have completed stage 2 of the bank’s licensing process by August 31 August would be processed and assessed as normal.

The agency noted that applications with incomplete requirements would be returned and considered closed.

The central bank will no longer accept new applications starting September 1.

Virtual Assets on The Rise

At the end of June, the Philippine Central Bank approved 16 new virtual asset services providers to operate in the local markets.

In December last year, the regulator reminded the public to transact only with central bank-registered Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) as transactions involving digital assets continued to rise rapidly.

The agency advised the public to be vigilant in their dealings involving VAs, which are not considered legal tender and not insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The regulator further mentioned that registered VASPs are mandated to comply with regulations that promote operational soundness and provision of quality services and ensure appropriate consumer protection.

As of June 2021, virtual currency transactions in the Philippines reached 19.88 million, an increase of 362% from the 4.31 million recorded in the previous year. Such transactions translated to P105.93 billion in value, an increase of 71% from P62.12 billion over the same period.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Yield Guild Games Raises $1.45M for Philippine Typhoon Relief

Yield Guild Games (YGG) has raised $1.45 million to support people affected by December 16’s Typhoon Odette in the Philippines, with nearly $1 million already dispersed to people in need.

The funding was used to purchase essential goods like medicines, power generators, and canned food, which were turned over to the Philippine Army and Navy and non-profits to distribute among affected communities.

There is still about $458,000 worth of crypto and tokens that have been donated to the relief fund but they have yet to be converted to fiat currency for deployment, according to a representative from YGG.

The Filipino division of the play-to-earn gaming guild “YGG Pilipinas” announced the relief operation a day after Typhoon Odette hit the country, quickly raising $110,000 in a number of crypto tokens including SLP, AXS, ETH, WETH, and USDC by the end of the day.

YGG Pilipinas Country Manager Luis Buenaventura led the initiative. He explained to Cointelegraph that the Philippines represents the largest portion of the YGG community, so Odette was close to their hearts.

“We’re Filipino-led; many of the senior staff reside here in the Philippines and indeed the largest portion of the global play-to-earn community is based here, which is why so many of the play-to-earn projects came out to contribute to the cause when they saw the extent of the typhoon damage.”

“Our community is as important to us as our core team, and many of them were either driven from their homes or have been living without running water or power for a month now,” he said, adding that many staff members were living in areas badly affected by the typhoon.

Aside from funds collected by the YGG community, a number of others in the broader Web3 community also got involved. Co-founder of NFT play-to-earn game Axie Infinity Jeffrey “Jihoz” Zirlin donated 1,000 AXS ($55,400) to the relief fund on Christmas day. He said:

“As we work together to help our brothers and sisters in the Philippines recover and rebuild, we remember that this is what our community is about.”

YGG co-founder, Gabby Dizon, said that the relief effort showed the power and unity of the Web3 gaming community. “This is our testimony that we are more than just a community of gamers,” he said.

Meanwhile, players of the play-to-earn game DeFi Kingdoms (DFK) also voted to donate a total of $500,000, with the developer team chipping in an additional $250,000.

Related: 40,000-member players guild raises $6M to make P2E gaming easier

Since some of the people who were affected by Odette needed cash more urgently than relief goods, YGG also launched an aid project “Crypto Ayuda” to send cash aid to individuals who needed direct assistance.

Recent estimates claim that Typhoon Odette affected around 9 million people, with nearly 325,000 remaining displaced to date. The Typhoon damaged over 50,000 homes and $260 million worth of agricultural goods.


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Asian CBDC projects: What are they doing now?

The rapid growth of mainstream attention toward cryptocurrencies has forced the hands of numerous governments to create their digital alternatives. Over the past few years, interest from various jurisdictions has been pointed towards central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) — digital versions of government-issued fiat.

Given their capacity to use blockchain technology to facilitate a simplified fiscal policy — not to mention calibrate privacy features and even provide cross-border banking services to the unbanked — CBDCs continue to gain even more attention from various governments worldwide.

Already, surveys show more than 80% of central banks are researching CBDCs, with some working on proofs of concept that could eventually lead to the introduction of fully functional CBDCs. Out of the surveyed central banks, 10% plan to offer a retail version of a CBDC in the next three years, with another 20% set to make the move in under six years. 

In Asia, these efforts have been compounded by China’s release of the world’s first CBDC after setting up a task force as early as 2014. By 2016, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) had already established a Digital Currency Institute, which developed a prototype CBDC.

Major Asian banks have shown great interest in CBDCs as reports show collaborative efforts by Thailand’s, Hong Kong’s and China’s central banks to create a digital ledger technology (DLT) for a CBDC prototype designed to bridge cross-border gaps. 

In this article, we give you a brief look at some developing CBDC projects on the Asian continent.


China ranks among the world’s top economies to embrace digital currencies with the release of the digital yuan — a CBDC project issued by the PBoC. 

Dubbed the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) China’s digital yuan (e-CNY) is set to completely replace cash payments and has been rolled out in the country’s major cities since April 2020. 

China’s DCEP, while sporting some anonymity features, is controlled, tracked and registered on smartphone apps by the Chinese government, giving them the ability to freeze accounts at will. 

Perhaps one of its advantages is the fact that users on China’s DCEP network can reverse or correct erroneous transactions, which is one of the features that is non-existent on decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC). 

As China’s CBDC takes shape, various countries (especially the United States) have grown increasingly concerned that the new CBDC initiative will help China tighten increased surveillance on its citizens and private companies. 

The move is also seen as an attempt to supplant the dominance the U.S. dollar enjoys in international trade. Even so, China’s e-CNY remains highly localized with no significant attempts by the Asian nation to take its CBDC international.

Hong Kong

Just recently, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) released a white paper discussing plans to experiment on the benefits of retail CBDCs for the city’s cross-border markets. 

Hong Kong is now governed under a one-country, two-system framework where it maintains its own financial and judicial system separate from mainland China. However, HKMA is working with China’s central bank to explore the infrastructure development of its digital Hong Kong dollar (e-HKD).

According to the white paper, “The architecture proposed in Hong Kong’s e-HKD features a flexible and efficient two-tier distribution model of a CBDC that enabled privacy-preserving transactions, traceability and cross-border synchronizations of ledgers.”

The white paper is the result of CBDC research by Hong Kong’s major financial authority that has been ongoing since 2017 under the aegis of “Project LionRock.” The HKMA considered the opinions of academic and industry experts and plans to conduct more trials to ensure the readiness of both a retail and wholesale CBDC.

South Korea 

South Korea’s latest move towards a CBDC has seen the Bank of Korea (BoK) make calls for a technology partner to help pilot a CBDC program set to run till the end of the year. 

In a report published by BoK in February this year, the central bank announced plans to test and distribute a digital won while outlining the legal challenges that accompany a state-issued digital currency.

Apart from selecting a technology partner to help with the project, BoK has also announced that its CBDC will first operate in a limited test environment in order to analyze the functionality and security of the CBDC.

According to previous remarks by a BoK official, South Korea’s cash transactions are on the decline, and the central bank is only taking steps in preparation “for the expected changes in payment settlement systems [worldwide].”

The Philippines

In the summer of 2020, the central bank began to consider the creation of a CBDC by forming a committee task force to study the issue.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas had confirmed in a virtual briefing that a committee was set up to look into CBDCs. In the briefing, Governor Benjamin Diokno explained that a feasibility test and an evaluation of the policy mechanisms of issuing a CBDC were underway. 

Like most governments and traditional financial institutions, the officials in the Philippine government were not shy to admit to the significance of blockchain technology. Diokno said, “Cryptocurrency for us has always been beyond the asset itself but more on the blockchain technology that underpins it.” 

In line with these remarks, the Philippine Bureau of the Treasury, in partnership with the Philippines’ Digital Asset Exchange and UnionBank, had launched a mobile application built on blockchain tech for distributing government-issued treasury bonds.

A few months later, however, saw the Philippines’ central bank reject the possibility of issuing a CBDC any time soon. Citing the need for ongoing research and study, the country’s central bank noted that its CBDC research so far could benefit from looking at established use cases of digital currencies in the private sector as well as other industrial applications.


From as early as 2016, the Monetary Authority of Singapore had been looking into CBDC initiatives and is now seeking commercial partners to help develop the currency.

By setting up challenges and competitions to discover and develop a retail CBDC, Singapore was able to establish a healthy diversity of solutions with the participation of more than 300 individuals.

Singapore’s move to launch a CBDC began as a joint project with an institute dubbed “Project Dunbar” that mainly focused on building an in-house retail CBDC for the country. 

Soon after, the Singaporean central bank announced cash prizes for participants issuing digital currency ideas. Finalists in the challenge included ANZ Banking Group, Standard Chartered Bank, Criteo, Soramitsu and HSB Bank Limited, to mention a few. 

Throughout 2021, the Singaporean authorities have maintained a crypto-friendly stance with approvals given to crypto exchange platforms to operate similar to other digital payment token services. 


Cambodia’s “Project Bakong” is probably one of the few fully operational retail CBDCs out there. The country’s blockchain-enabled money transfer project was originally launched in October 2020.

By June 2021, the project was reported to have amassed over 200,000 users with an overall indirect outreach of over five million users. What’s more, the first half of 2021 saw Cambodia’s CBDC project hit a transactional throughput of 1.4 million transactions valued at $500 million. 

Developed on a hyper ledger platform, the Cambodian CBDC features mobile connectivity that allows users to connect to financial institutions and make payments without a centralized clearing entity. 

Apart from the declared goal of using the CBDC to wean off dependence on the U.S. dollar, officials also disclosed that plans are underway to explore a cross-border transaction capability through a partnership with Thailand’s central bank and Malaysia’s largest bank.


In Japan, the country’s central bank joined hands with a group of other seven central banks in October 2020 to publish a report that examined CBDCs. 

Since then, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has begun a proof-of-concept to test the core CBDC functions. While the testing phase was scheduled to end by March this year, officials from Japan’s panel on digital currencies have said that the digital yen should be compatible with other CBDCs and that the BoJ is still ironing out its key functions.

An offline capability of the CBDC is one of Japan’s core considerations as it strives to establish a digital currency that is resilient to disruption given Japan’s vulnerability to natural disasters, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis. 

At the start of 2020, Japan’s parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs said that Japan’s digital currency could be a joint venture with public and private partners to align Japan’s goal with global changes in fintech.


Since 2019, Thailand has joined forces with Hong Kong’s HKMA to test the use of a CBDC that would be used in cross-border payments between financial institutions in both countries. 

According to a press release by the Bank of Thailand, “The development of a CBDC is a key milestone with the potential to alter the financial infrastructure and ultimately the financial landscape which could cause many changes in the roles of many stakeholders.”

Similar to other CBDC initiatives, the Bank of Thailand will seek out consultations and feedback with the general public as well as with the private and public sector on the “development and issuance of retail CBDC.”

The Bank of Thailand plans to start pilot tests for the usage of its CBDC in the second quarter of 2022.


Previously, the Vietnamese government had requested the State Bank of Vietnam to investigate blockchain-based currencies. It appears that Vietnam has joined the growing list of jurisdictions looking into CBDCs despite its previous harsh stance on cryptocurrencies. 

In May 2020, the country’s ministry of finance announced plans to research and formulate a regulatory law for the crypto industry, even as the country experienced high levels of growth in digital currencies. 

In July, the Vietnamese government decided to investigate CBDCs with plans to issue a pilot CBDC, given its utility for a small country in a global financial system that is dominated by the U.S. dollar.