BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said two companies are seeking registration of their digital platforms for virtual currency transactions or bitcoin.
Espenilla declined to name the locally based companies with international routes at the sidelines of an event in Mandaluyong on Friday.
“… We see a rapid increase in the trajectory [of bitcoin transactions]. It is coming from a small base but increasing that is why we decided to require companies [engaged in the business] to register,” Espenilla said.
Under Circular 944 issued early this year, Bangko Sentral required businesses handling conversions from peso or real money to virtual currencies like bitcoin to register and report to the central bank as part of efforts to combat money laundering and other terrorist financing schemes.
The regulator said the virtual currency systems had the potential to revolutionize delivery of financial services, especially for payments and remittances.
A bitcoin is a form of easily transferable electronic currency used for paying goods sold through the Internet, which sometimes stands as an investment for its holders given its fluctuating valuations. It is a form of digital money that is not issued or guaranteed by a central bank, and can be sent or received by anonymous users internationally.
Under the law, the Bangko Sentral is the sole authority that can issue money in the Philippines through bank notes and coins used as legal tender for day-to-day transactions.
Any person can buy and sell bitcoins, which may be traded by tapping the services of bitcoin dealers or brokers who look for good deals for a bitcoin investor. One can go to bitcoin exchanges—an establishment that allows holders to directly buy and sell the virtual currency or participate in a “mining pool”—a group of individuals with top-of-the-line computers that can solve complex math problems to unlock codes in exchange for a bitcoin, or look for someone to trade cash or goods for bitcoins.
All virtual currency exchanges must secure a certificate of registration from the Bangko Sentral to operate as a remittance and transfer company.