Philippines Central Bank Approves Two Bitcoin Exchanges

Announcements, Blockchain, Investing, News, Regulation | August 22, 2017 By:

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, has issued licenses for two bitcoin exchanges in the country. The announcement comes after the BSP issued rules on digital currencies earlier this year.

At the FinTech Thought Leadership Roundtable Series presented by FINTQ, BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said that the central bank currently regulates two bitcoin exchanges operating in the country, following the issuance of Circular 944 which required the digital currency exchanges to be under their watch. Espenilla described the prospective digital currency exchanges as “locally based, but having international roots.”

The BSP circular states that digital currency exchanges providing a facility for the conversion or exchange of fiat currency or government-issued currency to digital currency are considered similar to remittance and transfer companies and should be covered by Republic Act 9160, or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.

Espenilla also spoke about the dramatic growth of the digital currency industry and emphasized the importance of oversight.

“We see a rapid increase in the trajectory [of virtual currency]. It is coming from a small base, but increasing. That is why we decided to require [the exchanges] to register,” said Espenilla.

Espenilla added that bitcoin trading volumes in the country had more than tripled to $6 million per month, compared to the average of $2 million per month in 2016.

“That is the importance of putting them under the regulatory framework. They have to comply with it. We are moving to regulate them,” he said.