MANILA – A Singapore start-up is targeting to launch a cryptocurrency that leverages the popularity of Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao by the first quarter of next year.
“For Pac Tokens, we are looking at launching, probably by end of Q4 or Q1 (next year),” Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX) chief communications officer Evan Ngow told GMA News Online.
He said the company was just waiting for the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission to finalise its rules on “initial coin offerings”, which he expects to see by year end.
The volume and value of Pac Tokens that GCOX will initially offer are still being negotiated with Mr Pacquaio’s camp, he said.
Pac Tokens will allow fans to buy the Filipino star’s merchandise, including his used boxing gloves or jackets, and interact with him via live-streaming.
Mr Pacquiao is the only eight-division champion in boxing history, and is now a senator.
Forbes magazine last year listed the once-poor boxer as the world’s 20th highest-paid athlete of all time, with career earnings of US$510 million (S$700 million).
GCOX is also planning to launch tokens of other celebrities, such as English footballer Michael Owen and American singer Jason Derulo.
On its website, GCOX lists as advisers on its “governance advisory board” Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, founder of Abu Dhabi’s Bin Zayed Group, and Heliconia Capital Management chairman Lim How Teck.
“We ‘tokenise’ the popularity of each celebrity. We are giving the celebrities a chance to create their own celebrity tokens,” said Mr Ngow.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippines’ central bank, has authorised five cryptocurrency exchanges to process conversions between virtual currencies like bitcoin and ethereum, and the Philippine peso.
The companies are registered as remittance and transfer companies.
Cryptocurrency conversions have surged in the Philippines in the past months. Latest data from the central bank showed trading volume between cryptocurrencies and the Philippine peso averaged US$36.74 million per month in the first quarter.
Governments across Asia are taking a more critical look at cryptocurrencies following wild fluctuations in recent months and the high-profile hacking of major cryptocurrency exchanges.
Lawmakers in the Philippines have proposed legislation that would impose stiff penalties for crimes committed using cryptocurrencies.