The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippines’ central bank has authorized two new cryptocurrency exchanges to make conversions between cryptocurrencies and the Philippine peso.
The Philippine Star reported that BSP’s deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said the Philippines central has accepted the applications filed by Virtual Currency Philippines, Inc. and ETranss as platforms.
This makes them the fourth and fifth cryptocurrency exchanges in the Philippines that have been approved and regulated, joining Betur Inc, Coins.ph’s operator, and Rebittance Inc., approved in September and October 2017, and lastly, BloomSolutions, which was approved in May 2018. There are currently 29 applications for cryptocurrency exchanges awaiting approval.
Fonacier said that applicants operating cryptocurrency exchanges may not be required to secure electronic money issuer (EMI) licenses anymore, making the process easier.
“There are some refinements. This may entail additional requirement but not automatically an EMI license,” she the governor.
Cryptocurrency activity has experienced a rapid growth in the Philippines in the last few months. Recent data from the BSP saw trading volume between cryptocurrencies and the Philippine peso reaching on average US$36.74 million a month in the first quarter of 2018.
The BSP created a formal regulatory structure for cryptocurrency exchanges through Circular 944 on February 6, 2017. The circular needs cryptocurrency exchanges to enlist with the BSP as remittance and transfer companies.
The exchanges also need to put in implement adequate security measures to cover the risks that come with cryptocurrencies such as control measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, technology risk management systems, and user protection.
In the northern part of the Philippines, the Cagayan Special Economy Zone has been making efforts to become a potential hub for blockchain startups and a “Fintech City.”
The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), the state agency that handles the special economic zone, will be home to as many as 25 cryptocurrency exchange operators in its tax- lenient jurisdiction, as stated by a new announcement.
Each exchange will be able to own sub-licenses of as many as 20 to 30 traders or brokers it is also required of them to make an initial investment of US$1 million within two years.
CEZA’s administrator and CEO Raul L. Lambino said that Philippines’ residents will not be permitted to invest or trade in ICOs.