Philippines Sets Stage for ICO Regulations
The Philippines has set its regulatory sight on ICOs, a December 4th Bloomberg report revealed.
As Initial Coin Offerings have become more popular, top government officials have called for regulation of the industry. Nestor Espenilla, governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), believes that the “strong growth potential” of ICOs necessitates this oversight.
The Securities and Exchanges Commission will work alongside the BSP to oversee proper integration into the Philippine’s regulatory framework. Echoing Espenilla’s call for regulation, SEC Commissioner Ephyro Amatong cited his own concerns about the previously unchecked industry:
The SEC is concerned about possible unlicensed investment-taking activity or otherwise selling of investment contracts in the guise of so-called cryptocurrencies via a so-called initial coin offering.”
A Cautious But Accommodating Approach to Crypto
The Filipino government has been proactive and open in their response to cryptocurrency’s mainstream adoption in the Philippines. It’s an especially popular remittance option for Filipino expats, as every month, $6 million worth of cryptocurrencies is sent home to the Philippines by overseas individuals.
To accommodate this popularity, Banggko Sentral permitted businesses that use cryptocurrencies to register as remittances last February. In return, they are obliged to conduct client reviews and report suspicious accounts.
While these approaches seem flexible and inclusionary, Governor Espanilla clarified that the developments do “not, in any manner, constitute an endorsement of virtual currency as legal tender, store of value or investment instrument.”
The Filipino Approach in Global Context
By and large, the Philippines have been more progressive in their approach to cryptocurrencies than other governing bodies.
Back in October, BSP deputy director Melchor Plabasan touted the benefits of cryptocurrencies in a TV interview, stating,
It’s like any other monetary instrument [and even] an investment instrument. There are risks but essentially, it can be managed. If you want something that is fast, near real-time and convenient then there’s the benefit of using virtual currencies like bitcoin.”
The Filipno government’s focus on ICOs comes at a time when the industry is under international regulatory spotlight. Just this week, Russia introduced an initiative to impose standards and guidelines for future ICOs, and the United States’ own SEC filed a lawsuit on December 1st against PlexCoin for apparent fraud.