For Pinoys who have done extensive research into the ICON Project and have decided they want to buy some ICX tokens (which to be clear, at Icon Pilipinas we will NEVER encourage or suggest to anyone that they need to, or should buy ANYTHING!), they might be wondering how to do so in the Philippines?
Certainly, at least for now, purchasing cryptocurrencies (like ICX tokens) isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. There’s a small learning curve involved for most people new to cryptos, but since education is one of our main focuses here at Icon Pilipinas, we’re definitely happy to help.
Two Distinct Worlds
To get started, we think it’s easiest to just accept upfront that there are two distinctly different worlds involved that we are trying to bridge together:
- The centralized real world (blue pill) which uses fiat currencies (e.g., PHP, USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, etc.)
- The decentralized blockchain world (red pill) which uses cryptocurrencies (e.g., BTC, ETH, ICX, LINK, XTZ, etc.)
Unless someone already owns some cryptocurrencies (like any of the tokens mentioned above), they will need a way of converting fiat currency -> cryptocurrency.
In the Philippines, this means we need a platform to help us convert pesos to cryptocurrency. In effect, what is required is a on-ramp/nexus/portal/gateway (whatever you want to call it) to facilitate the transfer of PHP -> cryptocurrency.
Coins.ph (PHP -> Cryptocurrency On-Ramp)
Luckily for Pinoys, there are platforms accessible to us, such as Coins.ph (which we will focus on in this article) that can serve as our on-ramp into the world of cryptocurrencies.
Here’s some more background information about Coins.ph:
Coins is a Southeast Asian fintech company that enables anyone, including those without a bank account, to easily access financial services directly from their phone.
Founded in 2014 in the Philippines and serving over 5 million customers, Coins.ph is one of the first blockchain-backed platforms to reach significant mainstream consumer adoption.
Coins.ph is regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and is the first ever blockchain-based company in Asia to hold both Virtual Currency and Electronic Money Issuer licenses from a central bank.
Please note: There is a Coins.ph app available for download on both iOS and Android smartphones, but for illustration purposes only, we will focus this tutorial on the step-by-step process using a desktop (PC or Mac) connection that is logged onto Coins.ph.
Step 1: Sign up for a Coins.ph account
2) Next, you will fill in the information requested, such as:
- Mobile number/email address
Step 2: Enable Two-factor authentication (2FA)
Please note: Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges like Coins.ph are prone to being hacked if you don’t beef up your security!
This means that if you leave cryptocurrencies on an exchange wallet (like say Coins.ph), it’s possible for hackers to find a way to swoop in and empty out your account balance!
We have unfortunately heard horror stories from close friends and other people who have had their funds stolen. The only way to protect yourself as much as possible on sites like Coins.ph is to enable Two-factor authentication (2FA), via installing Google Authenticator app on your smartphone.
1) After completing the sign up process, you should be able to login to your Coins.ph account and navigate to the main dashboard page. On the top-right corner, you should see your name, and if you click it, a drop-down menu should appear:
2) Click on “Settings”
3) Next, find the section regarding “Two-factor authentication (2FA)” and click “Enable 2FA”:
4) To complete the Two-factor authentication (2FA), you will need to install Google Authenticator on your smartphone.
Here’s a link on Google Play:
Here’s a link on Apple App Store:
5) Once Google Authenticator is successfully installed onto your smartphone, you should be able to use the app to scan/link the QR code from Coins.ph.
Please make sure to save + backup your Coins.ph QR code (e.g., screen capture the QR code and store it somewhere safe)! You may need it again in the future should you decide to upgrade your phone, or if you mistakenly uninstall the Google Authenticator app. Better safe than sorry!
6) The Google Authenticator smartphone app should now show a 6-digit code, which is linked to your Coins.ph account.
The text color of the 6-digit code should be displayed in blue, but it start to flash red (at least it does on the Google Authenticator app running on iOS/Apple smartphones) every time it’s set to expire.
Before it flashes red, make sure to input the 6-digit code under “Verification Code” on Coins.ph, when prompted during the login process and click “Verify”.
Please note: If the 6-digit Google authenticator code flashes red or expires, causing your login attempt to fail, please wait for another 1 or 2 rounds of new 6-digit codes to appear + sync before trying again.
In general, it’s best practice to wait for a new cycle to start before attempting to input the 6-digit code under “Verification code” on Coins.ph, so that you give yourself as much time as possible to work with.
From this point forward, you should make it standard practice of leaving the Two-factor authentication (2FA) enabled on your Coins.ph account. As such, you will be required to open up the Google Authenticator app and input the 6-digit verification code each time you log on to Coins.ph.
Step 3: Cash In from PHP
Once you’re signed into your Coins.ph account and have verified that your Google Authenticator Two-factor authentication (2FA) is working reliably (i.e., you’re able to sign out and log back in to Coins.ph without any issues), you’re ready to transfer pesos (PHP) into cryptocurrency.
1) On the main page/dashboard on Coins.ph, click on the “Cash In” icon, highlighted below.
2) Next, select the cash in method you want to use from the list of available options (e.g., E-wallets, Online Bank Transfer, Over-The-Counter Banking, Remittance Center, Department Store, Kiosk Payments).
When you expand the menu on each payment option, you will see the full list of choices that you can use to cash in.
For example, under E-wallets, you can use GCash to cash in.
An additional example, for Remittance Center, you can cash in via Palawan Pawnshop.
3) You get the idea; find the cash in method that works best for your own unique situation and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the cash in process.
Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies, are EXTREMELY volatile! These assets are also very speculative in nature, and no one should ever buy any without first conducting their own thorough research + due diligence. Never put any more capital at risk than you can comfortably afford to lose all of!
Step 4: Converting PHP to Crypto
Please note, it will take some time for your Coins.ph wallet balance to reflect your recent cash in activity. You can always keep refreshing the main dashboard home page on Coins.ph, periodically, to check and see if your funds have arrived.
1) Confirm the amount you elected to cash in has arrived and is posted onto your Coins.ph wallet.
In this particular example, we were able to cash in 100 PHP, which now shows up in our PESO WALLET, highlighted below.
Please note: Coins.ph currently supports PHP, alongside the following cryptocurrencies:
Please note: As shown above, Coins.ph does NOT currently support trading of ICON (ICX) tokens. So, Pinoys interested in purchasing ICX tokens will NOT be able to do so directly using Coins.ph.
Instead, Pinoys will need to convert PHP -> cryptocurrency first, and then use another cryptocurrency exchange, like Binance, to purchase ICX tokens.
We will cover the full details of using Binance in the following section.
2) Click the “Convert” link, highlighted below to start the PHP -> cryptocurrency conversion process.
3) You will see that a new screen will pop up, and the default cryptocurrency to convert PHP into is BTC.
It’s perfectly ok to covert PHP to BTC, as having BTC tokens in your wallet will definitely allow you to use them in Binance (again, the exact steps will be discussed in the following section) to purchase ICX tokens.
However, for this example, we will demonstrate the PHP conversion to cryptocurrency process using another token, ETH.
Ethereum is the second most popular blockchain project in the world (after Bitcoin), and in general, the network is faster and transaction fees are cheaper, so all things being equal, at Icon Pilipinas, we personally prefer to work with ETH instead of BTC (but to each their own!).
Also, it’s worth noting that the ETH is a very liquid token (i.e., it’s actively traded), which means just like BTC, it will be easy to work with to purchase ICX tokens.
4) So, let’s change the selection from BTC to ETH, now.
5) Next, we will enter the full balance of 100 PHP available in our wallet, and the website will automatically convert to how much ETH we will be receiving.
In this example, the exchange rate is shown below as: 1 ETH = 10,131.42 PHP
Since we only have 100 PHP in our wallet balance, this translate to ~0.00987028 ETH.
It’s entirely up to you to decide if you like the exchange rate or not (which is dynamic and updates every time you refresh the page); if not, try again later, or some other day, for a better price.
Coins Pro Option
Please note: In general, you’re going to be able to get better prices (both when buying and selling) using the Coins Pro platform, compared to Coins.ph.
For instance, here’s what a buy/sell quote from Coins.ph might look like (same buy price as what we used to complete the transaction from Step 5):
In comparison, here’s what the same buy/sell quote for Coins Pro might look like for someone who was able to sign up and get approved to use Coins Pro (which is also free, but you have to apply and wait for approval):
In other words, if we wanted to buy 1 ETH, here’s how the prices would differ:
- Buy 1 ETH = 10,131.42 PHP (Using Coins.ph)
- Buy 1 ETH = 9,990.00 PHP (Using Coins Pro)
Similarly, if we wanted to sell 1 ETH, here’s how the prices would differ:
- Sell 1 ETH = 9,668.91 PHP (Using Coins.ph)
- Sell 1 ETH = 9,980 PHP (Using Coins Pro)
As you can see, a Coins Pro user would be able to get a lower price when trying to buy, and a higher price when trying to sell, relative to someone who is using Coins.ph.
In addition, unlike with Coins.ph, someone who is using the Coins Pro platform would be able to see a live trading chart, enter market orders, limit orders, stop losses, etc.
Further, there is an active order book on the Coins Pro platform.
The key takeaway is that the Coins Pro platform is the more sophisticated of the two, and it’s lower in fees (i.e., better buy/sell prices) compared to Coins.ph; for larger buy and sell orders, Coins Pro is most definitely the more economical way to go.
In contrast to Coins Pro, the Coins.ph converter is much easier to use and way more simple + straightforward for new users to work with. However, please note that for this “ease of use” and “convenience”, you’re going to be forking over higher fees (i.e., worse buy/sell prices) when using Coins.ph, compared to Coins Pro; for smaller orders, it’s not as big of a deal.
Moving on to Step 6.
6) In this simple example, let’s just go ahead and continue working with regular Coins.ph (in actuality, we would prefer to use Coins Pro whenever possible), so let’s now click the “Convert” button to complete the PHP -> ETH process.
7) If the conversion from PHP -> ETH is successful, Coins.ph should re-direct you to the following page, which shows a confirmation of the transaction.
8) Next, navigate back to the home page of Coins.ph, and now when you check your wallet, you should see your most recent transaction reflected in the balance.
Based on our actions, as outlined above, in this example, you can see that the PESO WALLET now shows 0 PHP and the ETH wallet has been updated to ~0.00987028 ETH.
Now that we have some cryptocurrency (e.g., ETH) in our wallet, we are ready to enter the other world (the red pill)!
Binance (Cryptocurrency -> ICX Tokens)
Next, we will need to setup a Binance account so that we can purchase ICX tokens, since Coins.ph doesn’t currently offer it.
Here’s some more background about Binance:
Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange that provides a platform for trading various cryptocurrencies. As of January 2018, Binance was the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world in terms of trading volume.
Binance was found by Changpeng Zhao, a developer who had previously created high frequency trading software. Binance was initially based in China, but later moved out of China due China’s increasing regulation of cryptocurrency.
Please note: The world of Binance (the red pill) only deals and transacts with cryptocurrencies; there are no fiat currency pairs (e.g., PHP, USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, etc.) that you can trade with.
Step 1: Sign up for a Binance account
1) Go to Binance website and click “Register” on the top-right corner of the home page.
2) Enter you “Email” and “Password” and read over “Binance’s Terms”.
Check the box if you agree, and click the “Create account” button.
3) Enter the 6-digit verification code sent to your email address to complete the Binance registration process.
Welcome to Binance!
Step 2: Enable Two-factor authentication (2FA)
Please note: Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance are prone to being hacked if you don’t beef up your security!
This means that if you leave cryptocurrencies on an exchange wallet (like say Binance), it’s possible for hackers to find a way to swoop in and empty out your account balance!
The only way to protect yourself as much as possible on sites like Binance is to enable Two-factor authentication (2FA), via installing Google Authenticator app on your smartphone.
1) After completing the sign up process, locate the following icon on the top-right corner of the Binance home page, and click on the link displaying your email address.
2) You should be prompted by Binance to “increase your account SECURITY, please enable 2FA.”
Click “Google Authentication” to setup 2FA.
3) Download Google Authenticator for your smartphone, if you haven’t already done so before.
Click the “Next” button when finished.
4) To enable 2FA on Binance, open up the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone and scan the following QR code.
Please make sure to save + backup your Binance QR code (e.g., screen capture the QR code and store it somewhere safe)! You may need it again in the future should you decide to upgrade your phone, or if you mistakenly uninstall the Google Authenticator app. Better safe than sorry!
Click the “Next” button when finished.
5) Also, make sure to save the backup key on paper.
The backup key is important because it lets you recover your Google Authenticator on Binance, in case you lose your phone. Make sure you save both the backup key and the QR code from the previous step.
Click “Next” when finished.
6) Now, enter your login password + 6-digit Google Authentication code found on Google Authenticator.
Click the “Submit” button when finished.
7) You should be re-directed to the Binance “Security” section of your account.
Shown below and highlighted is confirmation that Google Authentication (2FA) is now enabled on your Binance account.
At any time, you can go to the “Security” tab, to disable/re-enable Google Authentication.
Also, if you were never prompted to enable Google Authentication from Binance after first signing up, you can do so manually by visiting the “Security” section of your Binance account.
Step 3: Depositing Cryptocurrency into Binance
Now, before we can purchase ICX tokens, we need to deposit cryptocurrency (e.g., ETH) into our Binance account to trade with.
1) Find the “Wallet” tab located on the top-right section of Binance, and select “Spot Wallet”.
2) Select the “Deposit” link from the sidebar menu.
You should see something like the following image, which lets you know that you’re now in the “Deposit” section.
As shown above, by default, Binance will typically show a deposit into crypto featuring BTC.
For our example, we will deposit ETH into Binance (since if you’ll recall, we previously purchased ETH tokens from Coins.ph).
3) Under where it displays “Coin” we can either scroll to ETH Ethereum, or type in ETH to search for it.
Click on ETH Ethereum to select ETH as the deposit cryptocurrency.
You should then see something like the image shown below.
Under “Coin” it should show ETH Ethereum. In addition, we can confirm we are indeed on the ETH deposit page by checking to make sure that the balances being displayed are in ETH currency (which is highlighted above).
A “Total balance” of 0 ETH is correct, if this is our first time using Binance.
4) If our intention is to deposit the ETH tokens we acquired from Coins.ph into our Binance account, make sure that the “Select Network” has ERC20 checked.
5) Your Binance “ETH Address” will also be displayed (this address displayed is unique to your account ONLY!). Copy this ETH address whether via “Copy Address” or “Show QR code” options.
5) With our unique Binance ETH address copied, we are now ready to log back into Coins.ph so that we can move our ETH from there to Binance.
6) On the main page of Coins.ph, go to the sidebar, find our wallet, and click on ETH.
Because we purchased some ETH in our previous Coins.ph example, you can see that our ETH wallet has tokens inside of it.
7) The following “ETH WALLET” should be displayed, and we can click the “Send” button to proceed with moving our ETH tokens into Binance.
Once the “Send Money” prompt pops up, you will see your ETH balance on Coins.ph displayed on the section labeled “Source Wallet”.
8) Now, you can enter the amount of ETH you want to send over to Binance. For the purpose of the transfer (“what’s this for?”), we can simply type in “trading”.
Please note, there are transaction fees associated with the transfer of ETH tokens from Coins.ph to Binance. Under the “Amount” in which you can send, it will have to be less than the total balance of ETH you hold in your “Source Wallet”.
Also, if this is your very first time moving tokens from Coins.ph to Binance (or any other cryptocurrency wallet), please make sure to only send a VERY TINY AMOUNT of ETH tokens to your Binance wallet (i.e., for testing + verification purposes only), before sending the bulk remaining balance.
In our example, since we only started out with 100 PHP, it’s already a sufficiently small balance, so we will go ahead and send as many ETH from Coins.ph to Binance as we can.
Click the “Continue” button when ready to proceed with the transfer.
9) Don’t worry, the transaction isn’t final yet. The next screen that pops up will let us review all the details and make sure everything is ok before we send the ETH tokens over from Coins.ph to Binance.
Check all the boxes after reading each line and agreeing to comply to the terms set forth by Coins.ph.
Click the “Send” button when you’re ready to complete the transfer.
10) Open up the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone, and input the 6-digit verification code.
Click the “Submit” button to complete the transfer of sending ETH tokens from Coins.ph to Binance.
11) You should receive a confirmation of success once the transaction is completed.
12) Next, we can log back onto Binance and confirm the ETH sent from Coins.ph has arrived into our Binance account.
Let’s navigate back the “Wallet” tab and select “Spot Wallet”.
13) This time around, instead of looking for a cryptocurrency deposit address to copy, we simply need to direct our attention to “Recent Deposit History”.
As shown below, we can see that our ETH transfer from Coins.ph is now in progress, with the status of “Confirming (4/12)” (just as an example) displayed.
You can keep refreshing the “Deposit” page for the latest update on your Coins.ph transfer.
Please note: The amount of time it takes to transfer cryptocurrencies into your Binance wallet varies, depending on network activity, and various other factors.
Typically, for a transfer from Coins.ph into Binance, expect it to take anywhere between 5–30 minutes. Somewhere around 10–15 minutes, is likely to be the average amount of time it takes.
As the following screen capture will show, once the Coins.ph ETH deposit is complete, the status will be updated to “Completed”.
14) Next, on the side bar, click the “Balance” link directly under “Spot Wallet”.
You should now be able to see the transferred ETH tokens show up in your Binance wallet.
Please note: If you deposited a VERY TINY amount of ETH (like we did in our example, less than ~200 PHP in value), you will need to uncheck the “Hide low balance assets” box and search for ETH under “Coin”.
Woohoo, we now have ETH showing up in our Binance wallet!
We are now ready to purchase ICX tokens!
Step 4: Purchasing ICX Tokens
To exchange our ETH tokens for ICX tokens, we will need to go to the trading section of Binance.
1) From the Binance homepage, find the “Spot” tab and select “Classic”.
You should see an order book, trading chart, and token selection menu show up.
Please note: Likely, by default, Binance will display trading for BTC/USDT, as shown in the image above.
2) Select “ALTS” from the token selection menu on the right-hand side of the Binance classic trading interface, and type in ICX on the search box.
3) To make it easier to find the ICX/ETH trading pair in the future, you can click the star icon to the left of the ICX/ETH text; this will add the ICX/ETH trading pair to your favorites list.
4) Next, click on ICX/ETH.
The Binance trading page should now refresh to show the ICX/ETH trading pair. Notice that the chart, order book, etc. have all been updated from BTC/USDT (shown previously) to ICX/ETH.
5) We can now place an order to buy ICX tokens using our ETH tokens. We have the option of setting up a limit order, market order, or stop-limit order.
For this example, let’s buy ICX tokens using a limit order.
6) Please first review the price and amount of ICX tokens you wish to purchase.
Click “Buy ICX” button when ready to place your limit buy order.
Please note: In our current example, the limit buy order for 6.09 ICX tokens failed because Binance has a minimum spending requirement of 0.01 ETH (we only have a total ETH balance of 0.00880614).
To remedy our situation, we would need to deposit more ETH into our Binance account (as shown in the previous section), either from Coins.ph, or another cryptocurrency wallet that has ETH tokens.
Here’s our revised order (after adding some ETH tokens to bring the total balance up to 0.0173 ETH).
You’ll notice that once a successful limit order gets placed, it will show up under “Open orders” which is located directly underneath the “Buy ICX” and “Sell ICX” buttons.
Please note: Just because a limit order was successfully placed, it does NOT imply that the transaction was executed.
As shown below, even though our intention was to purchase 11.89 ICX tokens, the “Filled” column shows that 0% of our order was completed.
In general, if someone wants an order to immediately fill, regardless of price, a market order should be used.
However, it’s generally a safer practice to use a limit order (at Icon Pilipinas, this is what we always do when placing trades), like we did in our example, since it lets you set a maximum price you’re willing to pay for tokens.
Don’t forget, you can always cancel orders and revise your price at any time, using the Binance trading platform.
7) Once your order is complete, you can navigate to “Spot Wallet” and click “Balance” to view your ICX balance.
As shown below, our Binance wallet now has an ICX token balance of 11.7882 (which was filled with a new revised order, since our original market order didn’t execute).
Please note: Again, if the token balance is “small” (e.g., ~$3.44, like in our example), you will need to uncheck the “Hide low balance assets” box and search for ICX under “Coin” to see your ICX tokens.
Step 5: Moving ICX Tokens from Binance to Personal ICON Wallet
Now, we are ready to withdraw our ICX tokens from our Binance wallet so that we can move it over to our personal ICON wallet, such as ICONex (which was created by ICON Foundation).
Please note: In general, it’s never a good idea to leave tokens on an exchange (e.g., Coins.ph, Binance, etc.), which are ALWAYS subject to hacking attempts. At the first chance possible, you should move all your cryptocurrency tokens into a personal wallet.
ICONex is also available on your mobile smartphone device.
8) To get started with the withdrawal process, navigate back to “Spot Wallet” and click the “Withdraw” link.
9) Under “Coin” we will need to enter ICX to search for the right token.
Click ICX ICON when you see it pop up from your search.
The ICX Withdraw page should now load.
10) Now, you can enter the “Recipient’s ICX Address” and the “Amount” of ICX tokens you want to withdraw (you can click the “Max” link to auto-populate all your available ICX tokens on Binance for withdrawal).
11) Make sure to review the receiving ICON address and ICX token amount before clicking the “Submit” button.
Please note: ICX public addresses ALWAYS start with “hx” and should be 42 characters in length.
12) Before you can withdraw ICX tokens from your Binance account, you will need to open up the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone and enter the 6-digit verification code.
13) To complete the withdrawal process, you will need to also log into your email account and find the “Withdrawal Request” message sent to you from Binance.
14) Open the “Withdrawal Request” email from Binance and click on the “Confirm Withdrawal” button to complete the process.
15) You should get the following confirmation pop up from Binance after clicking the “Confirmation Withdrawal” button.
That’s it, you’re done!
It should take a few minutes or so for the ICX tokens you withdrew from Binance to show up in your personal ICON wallet.
You can enter your personal ICON wallet address on ICON Tracker to check the status and account balance (which should be updated once your transfer of ICX tokens from Binance is in progress/completed).
Please note: As suggested in previous sections, when in doubt, you can always try sending a VERY TINY AMOUNT of ICX tokens to your personal address (i.e., for testing + verification purposes), before sending the bulk remaining balance.
You have now completed the entire process of:
- Converting PHP into ETH
- Using ETH to purchase ICX
- Moving ICX into a personal ICON wallet
Disclaimer: This article is only intended to illustrate what the process of buying ICX tokens in the Philippines might look at. It is NOT an exact science, and readers should assume that errors, typos, mistakes, etc. were made in the examples we used and steps outlined in this article.
Also, please be aware that platforms such as Coins.ph and Binance are constantly changing and evolving. The steps we covered in this article are subject to becoming obsolete and meaningless at any time.
Again, cryptocurrencies, such as ICX tokens, are EXTREMELY volatile! These assets are also very speculative in nature, and no one should ever buy any ICX tokens without first conducting their own thorough research + due diligence into ICON Project. Never put any more capital at risk than you can comfortably afford to lose all of!
As ALWAYS, proceed most carefully, and if you have any questions, please consult a professional financial advisor.
Thanks for reading. Salamat po.
If you enjoy our content and feel like we are doing a good job in helping to grow the ICON Project and ICON community, please consider supporting us by voting for Icon Pilipinas.
Every last vote counts and can help so much!
You can learn more about Icon Pilipinas by following us here: