Philippine Regulators Eye New Rules for Bitcoin Exchanges and ICOs

Sujha Sundararajan
Nov 22, 2017 at 11:00 UTC
NEWS

Regulators in the Philippines are considering new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, the country's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner Emilio Aquino said that his agency could class ICO offerings as "possible securities" under the Securities Regulation Code, a Manila Times report said.

According to Aquino, the move is in line with regulations passed by the U.S. SEC, and other regulators in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand. Recognizing the growing popularity of the blockchain funding use case, he said regulators were eyeing rules to protect consumers.

The commissioner also revealed the SEC is currently in talks with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country's central bank, with regard to the licensing of cryptocurrency exchanges. Some companies have already been "registered and endorsed" by the BSP, he said, though they are restricted to money services businesses working in remittances.

The change could see other cryptocurrency exchanges allowed to function as money changers, central bank Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said yesterday, according to the source.

BSP has registered two exchanges so far, he indicated, and more are under evaluation.

Espenilla Jr. further indicated that BSP has an "open mind" toward fintech developments. "This means that we take a very active role in ensuring that our policies provide opportunities for innovation," he added.

Earlier this year, the central bank released new guidelines for bitcoin exchanges operating in the country, suggesting that exchanges need to register with BSP and the country's Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat, and that they would be subject to "registration and annual fee services."

Manilla image via Shutterstock

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