Money Briefs: Philippines to regulate virtual currencies

Philippines to regulate virtual currencies

MANILA • The Philippine central bank said yesterday it will start regulating operators of virtual currencies to protect financial consumers, and rein in risks like money laundering and terrorism financing.

Its new rules will cover only entities facilitating the conversion or exchange of any virtual currency into fiat currency, or vice versa, and not virtual currency creators, the central bank said in a statement.

Users of digital currency bitcoin more than doubled in the Philippines in the first half of 2015 from a year earlier, according to the central bank, while virtual currency transactions range from US$5 million (S$7 million) to US$6 million per month for certain major players.

The rules will also require virtual currency exchanges to execute a "deed of undertaking" to implement minimum standards of consumer protection.

REUTERS

Beijing in talks with bitcoin exchanges

BEIJING • China's central bank held a closed-door meeting with several domestic bitcoin exchanges yesterday, sources said, heightening concerns that regulators will tighten their oversight of trading in digital currencies.

The cryptocurrency has reacted sharply to reports in the past that China may tighten rules on the digital currency to curb capital outflows. Yesterday's pow-wow followed a regulatory inspection of exchanges, including OkCoin, Huobi and BTCC, last month.

Bitcoin had risen by 120 per cent over the past year as investors made purchases to hedge against yuan depreciation.

China has taken a central role in the bitcoin market in recent years as its citizens have become leading traders and miners of the cryptocurrency. But any increased scrutiny from government authorities may dampen purchases of bitcoin in China.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 09, 2017, with the headline 'Money Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe