Business

Paul How

Philippines’ SEC eyes September release for crypto exchange draft rules

The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will soon release draft rules for cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

According to news outlet BusinessWorld, Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong said after an en banc meeting that the draft guidelines are to be released “hopefully within the first half of September,” with the intention of receiving input for changes to be made. The SEC will then issue its finalized regulations by the end of the year.

The SEC will be basing the draft guidelines on regulations already being implemented in the U.S., Australia and Switzerland. “We want to create an environment where investors can feel more or less safe in investing in what are essentially securities that have a digital form… Instead of paper or securities that are housed within PDTC [Philippine Depository & Trust Corp.], the depository [will be] housed on a blockchain,” Amatong said.

The commissioner also noted that SEC has started discussions with the Philippine central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), about sharing oversight on cryptocurrency exchanges. Already, the BSP has its regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges, released back in February 2017. In its circular, each “virtual currency exchange” (VCE) must register with the BSP “to operate as a remittance and transfer company,” and file annual and quarterly reports. As of July, there are five exchanges registered with the BSP.

Amatong pointed out that the BSP’s role was limited to the aspect of money changing in cryptocurrency exchanges. “But… all of the VCEs are applying to allow them to act as trading platforms. When it comes to trading platforms, it is a concern of the SEC to be discussed with the BSP,” he said.

In August, the SEC released its draft guidelines on initial coin offerings (ICOs), in which it outlines requirements for proposing an ICO, including the submission of a whitepaper to be updated as necessary.

The Philippines is among the first countries to issue its regulations in cooperation with existing industry players. The BSP has merely cautioned of the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, but has not prescribed prohibitions on the matter.

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