The Philippines is considering regulations for digital currencies as the government seeks to bolster protection for the increasing number of overseas Filipinos using bitcoin and its counterparts to send money home.
The volume of transactions involving digital currencies is “rising very quickly” because they offer a cheaper and quicker way to move cash than through regular remittance channels, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla said in a Dec. 19 interview at his office in Manila.
“We are concerned with potential money laundering and consumer protection,” said Espenilla, who heads the central bank’s supervision and examination unit. “We are studying putting virtual currency exchange operators under a more formal regulatory framework.”
The central bank is bolstering its anti-money laundering efforts after money from one of the largest heists in modern history found its way into the Philippines earlier this year, and after a series of high-profile security breaches at bitcoin exchanges.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas estimates the volume of remittance transactions involving virtual currencies has risen to at least $2 million a month.