Philippines’ Central Bank Issues New Guidelines to Curtail Money Laundering Among Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs)

Local Philippines news source, the Philippine Daily Enquirer, has reported this week that the country's central bank now requires Crypto financial service firms to be fully licensed with the BSP.

This is according to a released document from the BSP, which was issued January 25th, that stipulated that VASPs will need to have a ‘certificate of authority' to continue operating within the Philippines. In addition to this certification, VASPs would also need to remain in regulatory alignment with central banks, and their existing rules for financial service providers broadly, such as those rules regarding liquidity and operational risk, IT, consumer protections, and anti-money laundering.

Of course, the BSP's announcement and regulatory requirements would be compulsory to VASPs with a minimum capital size of 50 million (Philippine) Pesos – or $1m – if they provide crypto custodial services, or 10 million pesos ($208k).

While this would place crypto companies in a bind of ensuring they are in complete regulatory alignment, the central bank's governor stated that this was all in order to strike a balance between regulatory security and “an environment that encourages financial innovation while safeguarding the integrity and stability of the financial system.”

Along with ensuring regulatory adherence, the BSP has also stated that VASPs seeking to qualify as certified will need to undertake their customer due diligence. Additionally, these companies will need to treat crypto transactions in the same manner as cross-border transactions; meaning that participant data for transactions of 50,000 pesos ($1,000) or greater must be retained.

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