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Crypto exchanges in The Philippines expand

Redwan Eid | Jun. 25, 2019
Crypto exchanges in The Philippines expand

June 25, 2019 | AtoZ Markets - It sounds that the Philippines is opening up for cryptocurrency even more, where the industry is nourishing there currently.

Yet, in addition to the 11 operators registered by the central bank “Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas”, more 37 crypto exchange operators have been recently authorised to operate in the market.

The 11 registered crypto exchanges will operate in the country under the ruling of the most recent list of Remittance and Transfer Companies with Money Changing or Foreign Exchange Dealing and Virtual Currency (VC) Exchange Service.

Those 11 exchanges that were licensed are Betur Inc. dba, Rebittance Inc., Bloomsolutions Inc., Virtual Currency Philippines Inc., Etranss Remittance International Corp., Fyntegrate Inc., Zybi Tech Inc., Bexpress Inc., Coinville Phils Inc., Aba Global Philippines Inc., and Bitan Moneytech Co. Ltd.

The formal regulatory approach to cryptocurrency the central bank adopted through the issuance of Circular No. 944 dated Feb. 7, 2017 dictates “BSP-registered VC exchanges are now required to put in place adequate safeguards to address the risks associated with VCs such as basic controls on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, technology risk management and consumer protection.”

The bank, however, unveiled that it had not authorised any cryptocurrency ATM to be installed in any location in the Philippines or manage online platforms for them and other crypto transactions.

The notice stresses out those crypto ATM operators must register with the central bank as VC exchanges under the aforementioned circular, with a separate approval is likely to be required from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the issuance of initial coin offerings and operation of crypto trading platforms.

More 37 crypto companies in the Philippines

In addition to the abovementioned-registered companies, the governmental Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has recently issued licences for other 37 exchanges to operate in the market.

CEZA is a government-owned and controlled corporation, dedicated to manage and supervise the development of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport, which is 54,119-hectare area located at the northeastern tip of the country, which identifies itself “as a freeport, it operates as a separate customs territory similar to Hong Kong, Singapore, Labuan in Malaysia and Hamburg in Germany,” offering foreign companies “incentives and advantages”, as per their description.

“These developments are all deemed toward attracting legitimate and productive local and foreign investments and, thus, creating employment opportunities in and around the freeport,”, elaborates the website.

On his turn, CEZA Administrator and CEO Raul L. Lambino said: “We are making CEZA a sandbox for the development of these disruptive technologies, serving as a laboratory for interested parties to experiment on these new dimensions of business enterprise.”

Offshore fintech business and crypto exchange licences in the Philippines

The 37 companies were issued licences under its “Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange (OVCE) Business Rules and Regulations of 2018.”

According to the nature of the two licences issues, there are now 24 companies that are allowed to conduct offshore fintech business and crypto exchange activities, as per the licence issued to them, and they are:

The 24 Principal licensees are Golden Millenial Quickpay, Ultra Precise Investment, Liannet Technology, Rare Earth Asia Technologies, Formosa Financial Holdings, Tanzer Holdings, Asia Premier International, Orient Express Global, White Ranch, Dragon Empire Developments, Galaxy Plus Developments, Tiger Wheel, Ipe Global, Cr8tiv Solutions Management, Sino-Phil Economic Zone Agency Development and Management, Digifin Technologies, Hong Kong Yuen Shing Hong, First Bullion Holdings, Okcoin Philippines Technology, 6x Tech, Increz Korea, Harseq, Fafa Internet Blockchain (China), and Wangwang Quickpay Foundation.

The other 13 companies are allowed to only conduct offshore crypto exchange activities, as their licence allows, and they are:

Cezex Trading, Unicorn Venture Investment, Eplata Pacific, A&C Fintech, Zipmex, Bird Mouse, Ecoflow, Adax Tech, Monetium, Bitpoint Apec Investment, Hxl (HK) Technology, Noah Ark Technologies, and Wtia.

It is worth mentioning that the event of issuing the licences to the aforementioned companies opened the door to some ulicenced firms to claim that they also obtain licences, like: Freedom Traders Club, Ploutos Innovation, Ploutos Coin, Hedger Technology, Hedger Mining, Idragon Science Development, Teo Consulting Group, ECP, and Grace Exchange, as CEZA warned.

The regulations talked about dictate that no Filipino company, Filipino, or Philippine resident are allowed to apply for a CEZA OVCE license, and if ever they got it, they still are not allowed to sell securities to Filipinos or to exchange tokens into fiat currency, unless they hold licences from the SEC or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of AtoZ, nor should they be attributed to AtoZMarkets.