Philippines Government approves two new crypto exchanges!

The central bank of the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has reportedly accredited two new crypto exchanges, Business World reported a senior official saying Friday. Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier told reporters:

The regulator has approved applications filed by Virtual Currency Philippines Inc. and Etranss as platforms to convert pesos into virtual currencies (VC) like bitcoin and ethereum.

The country now has five approved crypto exchanges. The first exchange approved was Betur Inc, also known as Coins.ph, which was approved in September last year. One month later, Rebittance Inc. was approved. Then, in May this year, Bloom Solutions was approved as the third crypto exchange operator in the country, the Philstar detailed.

Crypto transactions have been on the rise in the Philippines. Last week, Fonacier revealed that, in the first quarter of this year, $24.16 million were converted from crypto into peso while $36.74 million were converted from peso into cryptocurrencies, the news outlet noted. Similarly, $24.79 million were converted from crypto into peso and $38.27 million from peso into crypto in the fourth quarter of last year.

The country’s Anti-Money Laundering Council also said it will start looking at crypto transactions “as part of its tighter watch against dirty money,” Business World conveyed.

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The central bank has previously proposed that crypto exchanges must “secure separate licenses to operate as electronic money issuers.” It has been studying whether the exchanges “need to sign up as e-money issuers given that they maintain e-wallets for clients.” However, the publication reported Fonacier describing on Friday that “internal consultations showed that it may not be advisable, in a bid to keep the registration process simple for these new players.” She explained:

Now, we are refining the rules…If your business model has a portion making use of e-wallet, then there’s an additional requirement but not necessarily or automatically an e-money license.

Crypto exchanges signing up as e-money issuers must have a minimum capital of 100 million pesos (~US$1,872,291), the publication added, noting that “existing BSP rules also impose P100,000 as the aggregate load limit for e-money instruments per month.”

Last week, the government-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) reportedly announced that it is drafting regulations for cryptocurrencies and planning to license 25 crypto companies.

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