MANILA Feb 8 The Philippine central bank said
on Wednesday it will start regulating operators of virtual
currencies to protect financial consumers and rein in risks like
money laundering and terrorism financing.
The central bank's new rules will only cover entities
facilitating the conversion or exchange of any virtual currency
into fiat currency or vice versa and not virtual currency
"The new regulation seeks to balance the interests of
promoting technological innovations ... and proactively address
emerging risks to the system arising out of these new
technologies," the central bank said in a statement.
Users of digital currency bitcoin more than doubled in the
Philippines in the first half of 2015 from a year earlier,
according to the central bank, while virtual currency
transactions range from $5 million to $6 million per month for
certain major players.
Requirements for remittance companies such as registration,
minimum capital, internal controls, regulatory reports and
compliance with anti-money laundering laws will be applied to
virtual currency exchanges since they are similarly treated as
companies offering money or value transfer services.
The rules will also require virtual currency exchanges to
execute a "deed of undertaking" to implement minimum standards
of consumer protection.
Failure to comply with that could result in the cancellation
of the operators' certificate of registration, which would bar
them from dealing with banks, the central bank said.
(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Sam Holmes)