MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-owned money transfer service provider I-Remit Inc. and three more companies were given the green light to operate virtual currency exchanges (VCE) in the country, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
This brought to 16 the number of BSP-registed companies dealing with crypto currencies in the country.
Aside from I-Remit, the Monetary Board approved the registration of Wibs PHP Inc., MoneyBees Forex Corp. and Finchain Technology Inc. as new operators of VCEs.
Other remittance and transfer companies with VCE services include ABA Global Phils., Atomtrans Tech., Betur (Coins.ph) Bexpress Inc. Bloomsolutions. Coinville Phls.. Etranss Remittance International, Fyngrate (Philippine Digital Asset Exchange), Philippine Digital Financial Assets Exchange, Rebittance, Telcon, and Zybi Tech (Juancash).
Crypto currency is a type of virtual currency that uses cryptography, a method of storing and transmitting data in unreadable form so that only the intended receivers can read and process it.
Bitcoin is the first and most popular crypto currency to date, introduced in 2009.
When virtual currencies were starting to grow in the Philippine market, the BSP issued an advisory in 2014 to inform the public of the features, benefits and attendant risks when dealing with virtual currencies.
In 2017, the regulator established the formal regulatory framework for VCEs following the rise in the use of virtual currencies for payments and remittances in the country.
The BSP earlier cautioned banks and financial institutions in dealing with money service businesses, particularly those involved in virtual currencies including bitcoins.
BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier issued Memorandum 2019 – 021 in July last year reminding BSP-supervised financial institutions to ensure the soundness and adequacy of risk management policies and practices when dealing with VCEs.
“As a safeguard against unregistered VCEs, BSP-supervised financial institutions, upon onboarding and during transaction monitoring, should exercise extra caution and vigilance as well as perform enhanced due diligence, as necessary, in accordance with their Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Program as prescribed under existing regulation,” Fonacier said.