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Philippines Halts Accepting Crypto License Applications

The Philippine central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, announced Wednesday that it will stop accepting new Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license applications for three years.


In a memorandum dated Aug. 10, the central bank explained that it “aims to strike a balance between promoting innovation in the financial sector and ensuring that associated risks remain within manageable levels.”

The central bank added, “The Bangko Sentral recognizes that as VAs [virtual assets] offer opportunities to promote greater access to financial services at reduced costs, they also pose varied risks that may undermine financial stability,” elaborating:

In this regard, the regular application window for new VASP licenses shall be closed for three (3) years, starting 01 September 2022, subject to re-assessment based on market developments.

The central bank noted that existing BSP-supervised financial institutions that wish to expand operations by offering crypto services, including custodial services, may still apply for a VASP license provided that they have a Supervisory Assessment Framework composite rating of at least “stable.”

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ website shows 19 approved virtual asset service providers as of June 30.

Last month, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla said he does not want cryptocurrencies banned but they should be called crypto assets, not cryptocurrencies. He cautioned investors not to put any money they cannot afford to lose in crypto.

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