More bitcoin exchanges get Bangko Sentral nod
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - April 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has given three more companies the green light to operate virtual currency exchanges (VCEs) as it continues to put in place appropriate controls and adequate consumer protection.

Melchor Plabasan, officer-in-charge of the central bank’s Technology Risk and Innovation Supervision Department, said the Monetary Board has approved the registration of Bexpress Inc., Coinville Phils. Inc. and ABA Global Phils. Inc.

This brings to 10 the number of VCEs operating in the country including Betur Inc., Rebittance Inc., BloomSolutions Inc., Virtual Currency Philippines Inc., ETranss Remittance International Corp., Fyntegrate Inc. and ZyBi Tech Inc.

Virtual currencies use 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 cryptocurrency to date introduced in 2009.

The BSP issued Circular No. 944 in early 2017 requiring entities that provide facility for the conversion or exchange of fiat currency to virtual currency or vice versa to register as VCEs with the central bank.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier issued Memorandum No. 2019 – 006 requiring banks and other financial institutions operating automated teller machines (ATMs) that allow the purchase or exchange of virtual currencies such as bitcoins to register with the regulator and comply with the anti-money laundering or terrorist financing laws.

“As registered VCEs, they should comply with anti-money laundering/terrorist financing laws and regulations, ensure sufficient and appropriate controls and governance framework are adopted to manage the associated technology and other operational risks, and put in place adequate consumer protection and customer support, among others,” Fonacier said.

Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines has launched the country’s first two-way virtual currency ATM at its headquarters in Ortigas, allowing customers to purchase and sell virtual currencies for cash via an ATM machine.

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