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Philippines is studying EU’s digital assets AML/CFT regulations: SEC commissioner

The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is studying the digital assets Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism regulations (AML/CFT) the European Union (EU) recently reached an agreement on.

This was revealed by Kelvin Lester K. Lee, one of the four commissioners of the Philippines’ securities regulator. In an opinion piece published at the Manila Times, the commissioner stated that the SEC is looking out for best practices it can adopt from the EU’s regulations.

“European officials and lawmakers have agreed on anti-money laundering measures in the cryptocurrency space… The SEC is keeping an eye on EU development,” he said.

Citing data that estimates that in 2021, $8.6-billion worth of digital assets was laundered, Lee highlighted that preventing money laundering in the digital assets market has been a challenge to regulators globally.

The difficulty in containing the “wild west” nature of the market has resulted from the peculiarities of digital asset transactions. Digital assets transactions are cryptographically secured, they allow users to maintain some level of anonymity and are settled in mere seconds in some cases.

Digital asset exchanges also do not have adequate Know Your Customer (KYC) checks allowing criminals to slip through. Lee notes the EU’s new AML/CFT laws have provisionally agreed to update rules on information accompanying fund transfers to accommodate digital assets and solve these problems.

In contrast to Lee’s stance, Reuters reports that several key players in the digital assets market, including Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), have pushed back against the EU’s digit assets AML regulations proposal.

The Philippines SEC’s stance on digital assets

The EU is not the only regulator the Philippines is understudying. Lee mentions that the SEC is also looking at the U.S.’s digital assets regulations strides. In order to boost the Philippines’ AML/CFT laws that have been in operation since 2018 and cover compliance for all traditional institutions under the purview of the SEC.

The SEC has on several occasions warned investors of the risks of investing in digital assets. Last year, Lee specifically warned investors to exercise caution when investing in the popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, according to a local report from BitPanda.

The SEC also regularly calls out digital assets investment schemes that are scams or offer investors unregistered securities. Last month, the SEC issued a notice to Astrazion, a digital assets-themed pyramid scheme, directing them to close their operations.

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