Two Bitcoin Exchanges Receive Official Philippines Trading Licenses

It is reported that the Central bank of Philippines  has  approved the registration of two large bitcoin exchanges to allow legitimate cryptocurrency trade in the country just months after introducing regulations for cryptocurrency trading.

PhilStar is reporting that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has given the green light to two bitcoin exchanges to trade in the country during a rapid increase in use of cryptocurrencies in the country. The reliable news outlet quotes BSP governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. who was speaking at a technology and finance conference over the weekend. While the governor did not release any details of the newly-approved exchanges, he added that “they are local based but they have international roots”. The two exchanges  and their swift approvalare a good indication of expanding cryptocurrency activity in the country.

The Philippine central bank released new regulations and guidelines for cryptocurrency exchanges back in February of this year. Before deciding upon and releasing the ‘Guidelines for Virtual Currency (VC) Exchanges’ [PDF], the central ban classified virtual currency exchange operators as simple remittance companies, a large area of finance within the country due to expat workers. Requirements include that exchanges will be required to obtain the “Certificate or Registration’ (COR) to operate as an approved cryptocurrency exchange.

The rapid uptake and interest of the cruptocurrency sector in the Philippines was the factor behind the central bank’s swift move to apply sensible regulations to the industry. Philippines stands as the third largest receiver of remittances in the world, with an estimated $30 billion (about 10% of the country’s GDP) of inward remittance in 2015.

The central bank’s governor stated that bitcoin trading volumes in the region had more than tripled in volume to over $6 million per month compared to around $2 million per month in 2016.

We see a rapid increase in the trajectory [of bitcoin adoption]. It is coming from a small base but increasing; that is why we decided to require them to register.  Nestor Espenilla Jr

Once approved, bitcoin exchanges will be required to generate and submit quarterly figures of total volumes, value and overall activity of all virtual currencies transacted on their platforms. Full financial reports are mandatory on an annual basis. Violating of requirements will see large penalties including cancellation of registration.

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