On January 26, 2018, BTCManager reported on how Russia was softening its stance on the legal status of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies after the country’s finance ministry drafted a law to regulate the domestic crypto market. It looks like now its the Philippines’ turn to follow suit by taking, by and large, a similar stand on the ever-polarizing issue.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Philippines (SEC) confirmed on January 29, 2018, that it is currently crafting a policy to regulate cryptocurrency transactions, adding that the move is necessary to safeguard investors and to curb fraudulent activities.
Regulations aimed at ICOs and crypto exchanges
The new policy is expected to encompass a wide range of previously unchartered territories including the issuance and registration of digital currencies. If all goes accordingly, the SEC is likely to finalize the regulation later this year, according to Emilio Aquino, a spokesperson representing the regulatory body.
“We need to act because initial coin offerings (ICOs) are sprouting especially in 2017. We want to come up with our own set of regulations,” Aquino said while addressing the media. “You have to be extra careful how investors in this new space are protected.”
Local outlets had earlier reported that the government was preparing to lance a law making it mandatory for ICOs to register with the commission. This move stems from the ways in which digital currencies can behave like securities.
In January 2018, the SEC warned investors in the country to tread carefully while dealing with ICOs. Apart from that, it also filed a cease-and-desist order against one ICO operator and four other companies, citing a violation of securities registration regulations.
It’s worth noting that governments around the world, particularly in Asia, are increasingly wary of digital currencies, a type of digital money that’s decentralized and is not governed by any government or banks.
China has been particularly harsh on its domestic cryptocurrency market. The PRC government in 2017 banned ICOs and pulled the curtain on homegrown trading platforms. Speculations were rife earlier in 2018 regarding the South Korean government’s plans for a similar crackdown, prompting outrage among the country’s crypto investors. Later, the government was virtually forced to issue a statement clarifying that a ban was not forthcoming, but not before the rumors took a toll on the crypto market worldwide.
On the South Asian front, India’s crypto market is gaining momentum despite its not-so-friendly regulatory environment.
Meanwhile, the SEC in the Philippines is yet to give the final nod to the public sale of cryptocurrencies as it investigates several unlicensed sellers.