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Solon pushes E-Peso Act

MANILA, Philippines - An administration lawmaker is pushing for the immediate passage of a bill seeking to create the “E-peso” as a medium of exchange for Internet transactions.

Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, author of House Bill 4914, said there is an urgent need to enact the proposed  “E-Peso Act of 2014” since there is no official medium of exchange or money for the Internet.

“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,” Cojuangco said.

She said the E-peso would be a legal tender and legal payment for debt, taxes, goods and services transacted through the Internet.

Under the bill, the E-peso shall be recognized as the electronic legal tender and shall be available in all banks branches operating in the country.

The lawmaker said the amount in circulation of the E-peso would be limited to P1 billion in the initial two years.

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The bill mandates the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to explore and study the technology of “bitcoin and post bitcoin cryptocurrencies” to expand the knowledge base, which it would use in deciding what technology to use in E-peso.

“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,” the bill stated.

The proposed bill further stated that the BSP shall mandate all bank branches to dedicate at least one computer with adequate technical specification to serve as a local peer.

An initial amount equivalent to one percent of the total amount of Philippine currency in circulation shall be minted by the BSP within one year from the enactment of the proposed act, the bill outlined.

Bitcoin is a new currency created in 2009 by an unknown person using the name Satoshi Nakamoto for use in transactions in the Internet. Bitcoins are not tied to any country or subject to regulation. The use of bitcoins do not require transaction fees.

Bitcoins are stored in a “digital wallet” that also allows buyers or sellers of various products to transact business anonymously.

According to buybitcoin.ph, the value of one bitcoin is about P16,000 to P17,000 depending on the current market conditions.

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