The Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently indicated that cryptocurrency exchanges may be regulated as trading platforms, according to a September 3 report from The Manila Times. SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong told the publication that the commission expects draft rules to be released by the end of next week. In preparing these guidelines, the SEC is reviewing the cryptocurrency exchange regulations that exist in Australia and Switzerland as potential templates.
The SEC noted that it will release the final version of its ICO rules next week as well. ETHNews reported early last month that the commission had issued a draft outlining such regulations, stipulating that an entity wanting to hold an ICO must file an initial assessment request so that the SEC can determine whether the coin to be issued is a security or not. The issuer would then have to register as a corporation in the Philippines, while coin issuers principally located abroad would need to establish a Philippine branch.
The proposed ICO rules require "ocular inspections" and system walkthroughs as part of the registration process. Advertising procedures and exemptions for small offerings are also addressed. The commission mentioned it had considered public commentary on the draft.
Additionally, the SEC and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country's central bank, have agreed to work together regarding the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges. Commissioner Amatong commented on the partnership:
"We already discussed the matter with the BSP since the BSP is also interested and we are also interested. The discussion … [includes] joint cooperative oversight over [cryptocurrency exchanges] engaged in trading."
The march toward cryptocurrency regulation in the Philippines has been a long journey. The BSP initially established guidelines for cryptocurrency exchanges in February 2017 intended to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities in the country.
Since then, the BSP has approved the accreditation of a few cryptocurrency exchanges looking to operate in the island nation, including Rebittance Inc., Betur Inc., Virtual Currency Philippines Inc., and ETranss. The BSP license allows these companies to convert the Philippine peso to cryptocurrency and vice versa.
The SEC and the BSP have been collaborating on the issue of cryptocurrency exchange and ICO regulation since at least November 2017.
Apart from the SEC and BSP, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), which manages and supervises the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport in the northern Philippines, is working to establish the area as a blockchain, cryptocurrency, and FinTech hub. The CEZA has already licensed a cryptocurrency exchange, Hong Kong-based Golden Millennial Quickplay Inc. Ltd., to operate inside the zone.
The Philippines is undoubtedly making its mark in the Asian cryptospace.