John Eris Villanueva

@johnerisvillanueva

Buying/Selling/Trading Cryptocurrency in the Philippines

Update: CoinsPH and Abra section is outdated. They already added other cryptocurrencies.

There is a lot of hype about cryptocurrency here in the Philippines. One of the topics from the last Devcon Summit (2017) was about Blockchain, which is the tech behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

When I first got into cryptocurrency (around September 2017), I only held Bitcoin. And after the realization that it wasn’t practical to be used like money because of the high fees and slow processing, I got curious about other cryptocurrencies. The first that I added in my portfolio was Litecoin. It was called to be the silver to Bitcoin. The transaction fees were lower and the speed was a lot faster. I used ShapeShift to convert my Bitcoin in Coins.ph to my Litecoin address in Coinbase. I didn’t know any other means to do it at that time and it took a lot of effort to know how can I trade other cryptocurrencies.

This post is divided into two: Buying/Selling and Trading. In these sections, I will give you an insight on the methods that I have already used.

The goal of this is to help beginners in buying cryptocurrency in the Philippines and how to cash out. This will help you get started. I’m assuming that you already have some background about cryptocurrency and the only problem that remains is that you don’t know how and where to buy. Remember to only invest what you are willing to lose. The market of cryptocurrency is very volatile.

Buying/Selling

You can only buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) here in the Philippines. The options that are known to me is through Abra, Coins.ph, and CEX.IO.

1. Abra

Website: https://www.abra.com/
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.plutus.wallet
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/abra-bitcoin-wallet-buy-btc/id966301394

Abra is a bitcoin-based digital currency wallet. — Abra Website

What you have in the Abra app is a PHP Balance, Bitcoin Balance, and an Ethereum Balance. I will style in bold what I have used in the Abra app.

PHP Balance

You have four options for your PHP Balance.

  1. Add money — Using your bank account, you can add money to your PHP balance. What I have tried is to use my EON card from UnionBank. Depending on the amount you are trying to add, you might receive an email asking you to confirm your identity especially if it is a large amount.
  2. Exchange — After I have my PHP balance loaded, what I do is exchange it to Bitcoin. You can exchange your PHP into Bitcoin or Ethereum here. Before you exchange into Ethereum take note that Ethereum doesn’t have an option to Send/Withdraw.
  3. Send or receive — You can send funds to an Abra user or from your phone contact.
  4. Withdraw — Transfer to Bank option in withdraw allows your money to be added in your Bank Account. I haven’t used this to withdraw (I use CEX.IO to withdraw) but I’d say that it works since my friends are using this method to cash out.
Bitcoin Balance

You also have four options for your Bitcoin Balance.

  1. Buy Bitcoin — Add Money from PHP Balance and Buy Bitcoin from Bitcoin Balance has the same user interface.
  2. Exchange — Exchange from PHP Balance and Exchange from Bitcoin Balance has also the same user interface. You can convert your Bitcoin to PHP and Ethereum here.
  3. Send or receive — It has the same user interface for PHP Balance.
  4. Withdraw — If you want to send your Bitcoin to an external Bitcoin address, i.e. not Abra, you can do it here. This is what I use to transfer my Bitcoin to another exchange like Poloniex, Binance, and Kucoin where I trade my cryptocurrencies.

You can only exchange your Ethereum. It means that you can’t send and receive from an Ethereum external address, i.e. not Abra. You can’t also withdraw it directly to your bank account.

Summary of how I use Abra:

  1. Add Money to PHP Balance using my EON card from UnionBank. 
    I’m using UnionBank’s app: UnionBank Online
    Pay Bills -> Select Biller (Abra) -> Enter Biller Information (mobile number) -> Choose account to use for payment -> Enter Amount -> Review and Send Payment.

I blurred out my account number, mobile number, and amount for obvious reasons.

2. Exchange PHP to Bitcoin.

3. Withdraw Bitcoin and send it to Poloniex/Binance/Kucoin.

I don’t let my balance sit in Abra. I just use it to buy Bitcoin that I can send in Poloniex, Binance, or Kucoin where I can trade for the cryptocurrency that I like.

2. Coins.ph

Website: https://coins.ph/invite/wd8fx7
* I’m including my referral link
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=asia.coins.mobile
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coins-ph-load-bills-bitcoin/id972324049

If you want to register and you feel kind today, you can use my referral link:
https://coins.ph/invite/wd8fx7

My Referral Code: wd8fx7

Save money and time on everyday services like bills and prepaid load. You can even start buying and selling bitcoin! — Coins.ph Website

Coins.ph has features other than buying and selling Bitcoin if compared to Abra. As said in their website, you can use it for bills payment and prepaid load.

You will have a Peso Wallet and Bitcoin Wallet. The limits on how much you can cash in and cash out depends on your account verification.

Peso Wallet
Bitcoin Wallet (I have some 41 PHP left. I was not able to transfer everything because Bitcoin’s price is actively moving. Haha)

Cash in

To be able to load up your account via fiat currency, you need to cash in. You have a lot of options on how you can cash in. What I have used is their UnionBank option where they will present you the details of the account you have to deposit to.

Cash in using Coins.ph is more flexible than Abra. Here are all the options you can choose from:

Convert

After you were able to cash in, you can now convert to and from your Peso wallet and Bitcoin wallet.

Cash out

If you want to withdraw from your wallet back to fiat currency, what you need to use is cash out.

Cash out is also more flexible in Coins.ph than in Abra. Here are your options:

Limits and Verifications

Here are the limits depending on your state in verification:

Summary of how I use Coins.ph:

My account is not verified here since I use Abra more often. Again, I use my EON card from UnionBank. Though I haven’t used this to cash out, it should work fine. Same as in Abra, some of my friends use this method to cash out. I guess we have different tastes.

3. CEX.IO

Website: https://cex.io/r/0/up115119371/0/
* I’m including my referral link
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.cex.app.prod
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cex-io-bitcoin-exchange/id1047225016

If you want to register and you feel kind today, you can use my referral link:
https://cex.io/r/0/up115119371/0/

BITCOIN EXCHANGE YOU CAN TRUST — CEX.IO Website

VISA works in CEX.IO so my EON card from UnionBank works. I have used it to deposit and withdraw. I mainly use this method to withdraw because you have more cryptocurrency options you can send here.

Warning: You can use PayMaya in CEX.IO to deposit but withdraw doesn’t work.

You can read the conditions for VISA withdrawals here (PLEASE READ): https://blog.cex.io/news/visa-withdrawals-16897. TLDR: the important to note here is that if you want to withdraw USD, you have to fund your CEX.IO account with minimum 20 USD. There is also a list of restricted countries and Philippines is not included in the list. So if you are reading this post even if this is meant for Philippines only, please do check your country here first: https://cex.io/finance/limits-commissions#/direction/withdrawal.

You will have a Fiat Balance and a Crypto Balance in CEX.IO.

You can see below that there is no PHP for fiat. Though there is no PHP in the list, you can deposit to your fiat balance using your VISA. I’m using USD.

Your crypto balance here is a lot more compared to Abra and Coins.ph. After trading, I use CEX.IO to withdraw since I don’t want to go through the transaction fee of Bitcoin for transferring back to Abra and Coins.ph.

Summary of how I use CEX.IO:

I only use CEX.IO to convert back to fiat (USD) and withdraw. What I do is go through Ripple (XRP) since the transaction fee is lower.

  1. From Poloniex, Binance, or Kucoin, I will convert my cryptocurrency to XRP.
  2. Send my XRP from another exchange to my XRP in CEX.IO.
  3. Trade XRP to BTC in CEX.IO, since you can’t cash out XRP directly.
  4. Sell converted BTC in CEX.IO to USD.
  5. Withdraw USD using VISA card.

Trading

the act of buying, selling, or exchanging

There are lots of other cryptocurrencies, e.g. Ripple (XRP), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Litecoin (LTC). You can view the top cryptocurrencies at https://coinmarketcap.com/.

If you want to hold different cryptocurrencies that does not exist in Abra, Coins.ph, or CEX.IO, you have two options. You can use ShapeShift https://shapeshift.io/ to convert your cryptocurrency to another one or send your cryptocurrency to your account in a trading platform then exchange it there. I have only used Poloniex, Binance, and Kucoin for trading but you have a lot of options here. I’ll only discuss these three since that is what I have tried to deposit and withdraw with.

Though you can’t withdraw directly to fiat currency, you can send your cryptocurrency back to Abra, Coins.ph, or CEX.IO and exchange it into fiat. I recommend that you use CEX.IO to withdraw since they have more cryptocurrency options you can deposit to. If you want to use Abra and Coins.ph to withdraw, your only option is to go through Bitcoin which will take a huge cost on the transaction fee.

I’ll repeat this, only invest what you are willing to lose. The exchange that you are using might be down for a reason you can’t control and you might lose your money.

1. Poloniex

Website: https://poloniex.com/
Android: No official app
iOS: No official app

We are a US-based digital asset exchange offering maximum security and advanced trading features. — Poloniex Website

Poloniex is the first that I used for trading. First, verify your account after registration. You will be asked to take a picture with an ID then you have to wait until they verify it. If you don’t like that, use Binance. It has a withdrawal limit of 2 BTC even if not verified.

After getting verified in Poloniex, this will appear in your Profile.
Withdrawal limit: $25,000 USD equivalent per day

How to I load up my account?

To transfer the Bitcoin that you bought in Abra or Coins.ph, you need your Bitcoin Address. Remember that this will require a transaction fee so don’t expect that you will get the same amount that you transferred. To get your Bitcoin Address in Poloniex, go to:
BALANCES → DEPOSITS & WITHDRAWALS → Search for Bitcoin and Click Deposit

After you get your Bitcoin Address in Poloniex, you can now send your Bitcoin from Abra or Coins.ph.

How do I buy and sell other cryptocurrencies?

So now you already have Bitcoin in Poloniex. You can begin trading by going to the EXCHANGE tab.

If you are confused with what you are seeing, which is my first impression too, I recommend that you start by trading in the USDT tab.

USDT is a cryptocurrency that claims to be a tether to USD, which means that 1USD=1USDT.

Click BTC under the USDT tab in the MARKETS section. Scroll down below and you will see this:

For a start, you might only want to use BUY and SELL here. To sell your BTC for USDT, you need to use the third box which says SELL BTC. Click the amount that is underlined beside BTC. The Price, Amount, and Total will be automatically filled if you do that. This means that you want to sell your BTC for USDT at the price that is indicated. Click sell to proceed. Take note that your sell order might not be filled right away because the market is actively moving the price. If that happens, scroll down and go to MY OPEN ORDERS. It will be listed there if it is not yet completed. You can wait for it or cancel it then try again for the most recent price.

After you are done converting your BTC to USDT, you can now buy other cryptocurrencies in the USDT tab.

How do I withdraw?

To transfer your cryptocurrency from Poloniex to other exchanges like Abra, Coins.ph, and CEX.IO where you can convert to fiat, go to:
BALANCES → DEPOSITS & WITHDRAWALS → Search for the cryptocurrency that you want to withdraw then Click Withdraw.

2. Binance

Website: https://www.binance.com/?ref=13335816
* I’m including my referral link
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.binance.dev
iOS: It is not available on App Store but they have an app that is distributed for enterprise. I’m an iOS developer and I can say that this is an official app. iOS apps can be distributed this way. Follow the instructions here: https://support.binance.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001507811-How-to-Install-Binance-iOS-APP

If you want to register and you feel kind today, you can use my referral link:
https://www.binance.com/?ref=13335816

My Referral ID: 13335816

You can buy other cryptocurrencies in Binance that are not in Poloniex.

After you register, you will have:
24h Withdrawal Limit:2BTC

You can verify your account to increase your limit.

Like in Poloniex, you can buy and sell in the Exchange tab. I recommend this since it has an Android and iOS app and you have more options to buy and sell with.

3. Kucoin

Website: https://www.kucoin.com/#/?r=7Qv2dN
* I’m including my referral link
Android: No official app
iOS: No official app

My Invitation Code: 7Qv2dN

I just recently used Kucoin. Most of the cryptocurrency that I can’t find in Poloniex and Binance is here which is great! If you were able to navigate through Poloniex and Binance, you should be fine using Kucoin.

To summarize how I do everything:

  1. Buy Bitcoin in Abra or Coins.ph.
  2. Send bought Bitcoin to Poloniex, Binance, or Kucoin.
  3. Trade. Buy. Sell. Wait.
  4. Convert to cryptocurrency available in CEX.IO.
  5. Send cryptocurrency in CEX.IO.
  6. Trade cryptocurrency in CEX.IO to Bitcoin.
  7. Convert Bitcoin in CEX.IO to USD.
  8. Withdraw USD using my VISA card.

Here I added some tips and answers to frequently asked questions to help you keep going.

  1. Where can I follow the cryptocurrency community? Everyone is active in Reddit! https://www.reddit.com/. Usually a cryptocurrency has its own subreddit. As a start, you can follow this subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/CryptoMarkets/
  2. I don’t want to hold my cryptocurrency in an exchange, where is the most secure place that I can store it? We haven’t talked about cold storage in this post but it is the safest that you can use.
  3. How much should I invest in cryptocurrency? You are responsible for your money! I’d say that don’t put in what you are not willing to lose. Yes, it could double fast but it can crash like crazy too.
  4. In what cryptocurrency should I invest? Research and find the cryptocurrency that you believe in. No one can predict the market.
  5. Most trading platforms are recommending Two-Factor Authentication, why should I use it and what is Google Authenticator? This one is important. If your password has been compromised, two-factor authentication will save you. You will be given a code which you have to keep in safe place. Write it down. You will need this code for Google Authenticator. This will allow Google Authenticator to generate a password that changes every 30 seconds. It will be an added layer of security for your account. If you enable this, you will be asked for your password and the generated password from Google Authenticator whenever you login.

I you feel generous and want to thank me for this post, you can always send me some cryptocurrency. Here are some of my address:

Litecoin (LTC): LQxfn7UJY3Y9vzNfep2uMd59zaS6mZBHHV

Bitcoin (BTC): 1DLA1yqsUH8Fy2aQwjSCxucUt4iMk34WyE

Ethereum (ETH): 0x61c4ae6c411d80995ab98cca4966ca8fa2e8516b

Thanks! 😄 😄 😄

PS: The methods that were listed here are those that I have already tried myself and is still working at the time of writing. Always be careful with the address when sending. There is no bank to call and blame here and you can’t revert a transaction. Sending to an invalid address is like burning your money to ashes. You are responsible for your money and trades. If you can’t be like that, don’t invest in this volatile market. Good luck and happy trading! 😎 😎 😎

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