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Coins.ph has received an advanced Electronic Payment and Financial Services (EPFS) license from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Tuesday, covering the operation of the Coins Pro exchange, which was acquired nine months ago from super-app Gojek.
Coins.ph is the first VASP (Virtual Asset Service Provider) to be granted a Type A EPFS license, which is traditionally reserved for banks, the company said in announcement. Coins.ph also holds licenses from the central bank to offer electronic money, remittances and transfers, and virtual currency and exchange services.
In April, CEO Wei Zhou and Joffre Capital bought Coins.ph, which was launched in 2014 as a digital wallet for crypto assets, from Indonesian super app Gojek for nearly US$200 million.
Gojek reportedly paid US$95 million to acquire the platform in 2019, and while its functionality for other financial services, such as mobile top-ups, bill payments, and remittances grew, it’s crypto services “pretty much died,” Tech in Asia quoted a source as saying. The platform currently has 16 million users.
“The advanced EPFS license will facilitate more transparency and safeguards, as it ensures that we can continue to provide secure and reliable services to our users. It will also enable significant upgrades to Coins Pro, our proprietary order book exchange.” Zhou said in the statement.
In a recent interview with Tech in Asia, Zhou said that since the acquisition, the company has removed its old vendor and has been rebuilding the exchange and upgrading the firm’s tech stack. It’s now focused on building its DeFi wallet capabilities and “wants the exchange is to have the best liquidity for fiat-to-crypto conversion in the Philippines.”