Philippines Central Bank considers ICO regulations

Authorities in the Philippines are looking closely at initial coin offerings (ICOs), after their introduction of regulations for bitcoin exchanges earlier this year.

Nestor Espenilla, governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has expressed that the central bank intends to introduce regulations for initial coin offerings, given their increasing usage to raise capital. In fact, ICOs have gained popularity as a new form of fundraising where companies and startups offer digital tokens in exchange for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and Ethereum.

According to Bloomberg, Espenilla shared that oversight is required given that companies attempt to take advantage of the “strong growth potential in this space”, and that the central bank is in discussions with Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to plan strategies to oversee ICOs.

According to SEC commissioner Ephyro Amatong, the authority is “concerned about possible unlicensed investment-taking activity or otherwise selling of investment contracts in the guide of so-called cryptocurrencies via a so-called initial coin offering.”

SEC commissioner Emilio Aquino mentioned last month, the authority’s intent to consider digital currency offerings as securities by learning from regulatory counterparts in the United States, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand among others.

As the central bank enforced regulations upon bitcoin exchanges, it is expected that it would do so for ICOs. In fact, these regulations, which effectively acknowledge digital currency businesses as remittance operators, were underlined by Espenilla as the central bank’s “open minded approach” to financial technologies like bitcoin.