Filipino Central Bank Mandates Crypto Company Licensing

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, has released new guidelines for the virtual asset service providers (VASPs) operating in the country, imposing many new restrictions and mandating licenses for operations.

The new framework approved by the regulator’s Monetary Board is aiming to curb money laundering and terror financing using digital currencies. The document highlighted that the regulations are in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“We have seen accelerated growth in the use of virtual currency exchanges in the past three years,” the central bank Governor, Benjamin Diokno said in a statement. 

“It is high time that we broaden the scope of existing regulations in recognition of the evolving nature of this financial innovation and set out commensurate risk management expectations.”

Due Diligence Is a Priority

The guidelines mandated the Filipino VASPs to obtain a ‘certificate of authority’ from the monetary regulator. The crypto services offering custodian services will require a minimum capital requirement of 50 million Philippine pesos (around $1 million), and businesses without custody will need 10 million pesos ($208,000).

Additionally, these businesses need to comply with the existing risk management rules imposed on traditional financial services providers.

The VASP will also have to maintain due diligence on their customers and have to handle digital currency transactions as cross-border wire transfers. The crypto companies have to have to keep the data of the parties involved in transactions over 50,000 pesos ($1,000).

For single transactions of 50,000 pesos, the VASPs need to have extra diligence along with payout restrictions.

The Philippines was already regulating the crypto exchanges offering services with fiat since 2017 and now is tightening the industry more with the updated guidelines.

“This will ensure that activities relating to virtual asset service providers are executed within an unbroken chain of regulated entities,” the governor added.

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