Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Crypto regulations tighten in the Philippines

It appears that the Philippines remains undecided on what approach it should take with respect to its crypto regulations. This is despite the nation’s best efforts to come off as a crypto-friendly nation. 

On August 15, the central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) acknowledged that there are a lot of benefits inherent in crypto and blockchain. The apex bank also revealed its intentions to carry out crypto education while ensuring not to hinder investments with its restrictions. Those statements signalled some form of open-mindedness on the part of the country, at least with regards to crypto.

However, in another twist, the Philippines has issued yet another statement that appears to  put even more pressure on the crypto industry and its growth. 

Is the Philippines getting stricter with its crypto regulations?

This week, the BSP published a crypto warning to all residents of the country. Although the announcement was more an advice than a threat, it asked its nearly 112 million residents not to deal with any foreign crypto exchanges. According to the announcement, investors who defy the warning and keep transacting with foreign exchanges, do so at their own risk.

Essentially, this new warning means that Filipinos are left with only 19 Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs), who have all been duly registered and approved to operate.

Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that the list of approved VASPs is not exactly likely to increase over the next few years. The BSP recently issued a memorandum that it would cease granting VASP licenses from September 1. At the time, the central bank claimed that that is a move to allow innovations thrive and minimize financial risks.

Regardless of its confusing stance on crypto, however, the country remains one of the most crypto-friendly nations of the world. Interestingly, nearly 12 million citizens of the country own digital assets. 

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