According to the Manila Times, the Philippines is set to adopt a new regulatory framework that will allow ICOs to fall under the umbrella of the Filipino Securities and Exchange Commission.
Concerns that ICOs May Be Undermining SEC
The move is thought to have been precipitated by the SEC’s witnessing of at least one de-listed company on the Filipino Stock Exchange having returned to the capital-raising markets via an ICO.
The development has widely been interpreted as an initiative with the singular objective of forestalling the ability of other de-listed companies to bypass the country’s existing Securities Regulation Code, introduced in 2000 and which requires traded companies to satisfy basic minimums in relation to operational and book-keeping transparency.
Cryptocurrencies Given Lee-way
Whilst ICOs may find themselves being brought under the restrictive umbrella of the SEC, cryptocurrencies are experiencing something of the opposite effect. In a country where they were formally banned until only recently, the SEC is holding talks with the Central Bank of the Philippines (BSP) with an eye to approving the creation of exchange licences.
It is understood that these exchanges will be restricted to a relatively smaller number of established cryptocurrencies among the 1100 currently in circulation. These will likely include both Bitcoin and Ether.
Facilitating International Remittances
Any eventual trading of cryptocurrencies within the Philippines, however, will likely be uni-directional only, meaning that Bitcoin to Filipino Peso trades will be allowed for incoming revenues with trading in the opposite direction not provided as a service.
The move has generally been interpreted as a bid by Filipino authorities to regulate the growing use of cryptocurrencies by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) as a more streamlined and less expensive medium for sending international remittances in comparison to more traditional overseas payment services such as Western Union.
International remittances represent 10% of GDP in a country where ten percent of adults of working age are based abroad.