Philippines

Philippine Regulators Push For Unified Rules on Bitcoin Investments

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Philippine regulators are pushing for a unified rule on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin – when used as investments.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it would coordinate with market regulator Securities and Exchange Commission to draft rules if bitcoins will be used as a platform for investments in the country, reports GMA Network.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said:

“This is in coordination with SEC, if ever there would be a shift to that – if there is kind of approach, there is investment already. It would not just be BSP, it’s a collaboration [with the SEC].”

Fonacier’s statement came as CCN reported an announcement made by SEC commissioner Emilio Aquino in October the commission is considering allowing digital currency offerings as securities, similar to initiatives taken by other regulators, including the United States, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand among others.

She stated that the BSP, as a monetary policymaker, is reviewing ways to regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies amid the growing hysteria over the space.

Fonacier stated:

“Currently, we are focusing on the exchange, but who knows. With the developments, we might consider (regulating the bitcoin).”

Last week, BSP core IT chief Melchor Plabasan revealed that the Philippines is reviewing applications for bitcoin exchange registrations from 12 traders, as reported by CCN. As of the present, only two traders have been given licenses by the BSP to offer bitcoin exchanges, Betur or more popularly known as Coins.ph and Rebittance.

Plabasan stated at a press conference:

“We do not endorse virtual currency as a currency because it is not a currency…We only regulate bitcoin or virtual currencies when it is used in delivering financial services like remittance and payments.”

With nearly $27 billion in annual remittance, Philippine authorities look at bitcoin and other digital currencies as an alternative for remittance services and payments instead of cash.

From January to June this year the average volume of bitcoin transactions in the Philippines has seen a meteoric rise to $8.8 million per month, up from $2 million in 2015 and $6 million in 2017, BSP data showed.

Featured image from Shutterstock.