The Philippine central bank, BSP, has approved the applications from two new cryptocurrency exchanges, the Business World news agency reported on July 6th.
BSP Vice Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said that Virtual Currency Philippines, Inc. and ETranss had been approved as cryptocurrency exchange platforms, and obtained the approval to exchange Philippine pesos into cryptocurrencies. With this new approvals, two new crypto trading firms join the already operating Rebittance, Inc., Betur, Inc., and BloomSolutions.
The central bank has recognized cryptocurrencies for their potential to provide faster and cheaper transactions but remains wary of the potential risks of crypto-volatility, criminal involvement, and cybersecurity.
BSP had previously considered whether new exchanges should be registered as e-money issuers because they offer wallet services to their customers. Fonacier said internal consultations discouraged such a requirement in the interest of providing a streamlined registration process for new market players:
Now, we are refining the rules. If your business model has a part that makes use of e-wallet, then there is an additional requirement, but not necessarily or automatically an e-money license.
CHUCHI G. FONACIER, BSP Vice Governor
The Anti-Money Laundering Reportedly, the Council will begin to look closely at cryptocurrency transactions as part of its broader effort to crack down on dirty money. Companies are required to report covered transactions, as well as any transactions they consider suspicious.
In Philippines exchanges from fiat money to cryptocurrencies have grown significantly in recent years
In the first quarter of 2018, the fiat-to-crypto exchanges amount raised to approximately $36 million per month covering transactions on two registered exchanges.
In April, the Philippine government announced that it would allow ten blockchain and cryptocurrency-related companies to operate in the Cagayan Economic Zone. Companies are expected to generate employment for local residents in exchange for tax exemptions.
The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority will also require companies to invest at least $1 million over two years and pay up to $100,000 in license fees.
In November last year, the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission said it was considering legalizing the use of cryptocurrencies in the country by classifying them as securities.
At the beginning of 2017, however, the Bureau of Strategic Planning officially recognized Bitcoin (BTC) as a legal tender.