Where to Buy Bitcoin in the Philippines

Ethan Rose
April 13, 2024

Thousands of Filipinos are buying bitcoin to preserve their wealth and to hedge against the fiat monetary system. The Philippine market boasts several options for buying bitcoin, but it's important to be aware of the advantages and pitfalls of each option.


As of today, the most popular exchange is Binance, which is completely unregulated in the Philippines. The founder of Binance recently pled guilty to financial crimes, regulators are in the process of banning the website and app altogether from the nation, and banks actively try to block transactions facilitated via the platform. Binance doesn't support Philippine Peso ("PHP") bank transfers directly, but they do support trades via their "Peer-to-peer" ("P2P") system. While all of these hurdles should cause concern for buyers, that hasn't stopped Filipinos from using the platform extensively.

However, take note that the reason people use binance is almost never to buy bitcoin -- it is typically to gamble on various cryptocurrencies, treating the platform more like an online casino. This behavior, while it is human nature, is counter one of the core value propositions of bitcoin -- to preserve wealth in a more sound form of money, designed to improve upon the monetary properties of gold.

Philippine VASPs

Coins PH, PDAX, and Moneybees are the major VASPs in the Philippines which are licensed to perform Virtual Asset activity. These platforms operate as crypto exchanges. While they are viable ways to buy bitcoin in the Philippines and they have proven to be stable and resilient through bear markets, they also typically charge high spreads and even higher withdrawal fees.

As bitcoiners say, "not your keys, not your coins". Exchanges can (and have) gone under regularly since the inception of bitcoin, and even regulated exchanges should never be seen as a safe place to store virtual assets long term.

GCash / Maya

While GCash and Maya are the most popular eWallet apps in the Philippines, and they do offer integrated "crypto" features, the features are treated as truly awful cash-grabs for consumers. The companies don't care about the ecosystem at all, and it shows -- they don't allow withdrawals and they offer the worst exchange rates on the market. Don't be surprised if you buy bitcoin, sell it again, and end up losing 5% of your money instantly, simply due to the terrible hidden exchange rates.


If your goal is to buy bitcoin with a simple user experience and at the best possible exchange rate, that is what Pouch.ph strives to excel at. Pouch offers the leading PHP to BTC exchange rate, and withdrawal fees are up to 90% lower than other platforms. The company is focused on educating the Philippines about sound-money principles, which is why the most informed bitcoiners prefer to use the financial app to buy bitcoin in the Philippines.

As of the writing of this article, Pouch does not do Bitcoin custody, but instead Pouch recommends creating a non-custodial bitcoin wallet to store funds safely from any counter-party -- after all, one of the main values of Bitcoin is that it protects you from banks & other custodians since it can be held in self-custody. Pouch is licensed by the central bank of the Philippines as an Operator of Payment Systems, and exclusively serves Filipinos.

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