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BSP looking at regulating Bitcoin

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is now looking at regulating the bitcoin, amid the global hype on the cryptocurrency.

"Currently, ano muna, sa exchange lang kami, pero who knows. With the developments, we might consider (regulating the bitcoin)," BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said in an interview.

Just on Sunday, the CME Group Inc. —the world's largest derivatives exchange operator—began operating bitcoin futures which opened at $20,650. At the current exchange rate of P50.480:$1, this translates to P1,042,412.00

In the Philippines alone, latest data available from the BSP show that bitcoin transactions averaged $8.8 million a month in January to June this year.

Under the guidelines of the BSP, it only regulates the virtual currency exchanges or the conversion or exchange of government-issued currencies into a virtual currency.

"VC refers to any type of digital unit that is used as a medium of exchange or a form of digitally stored value created by agreement within the community of VC users," the BSP said in a circular released in February.

"VCs are not issued nor guaranteed by any jurisdiction and do not have legal tender status," it added.

The BSP has so far authorized two virtual currency exchanges in the Philippines, namely Betur or more popularly known as, and Rebittance.

Five more applicants have proposed to be authorized by the BSP, but have yet to secure final approval from the bank regulator.

Fonacier noted, however, that if bitcoins be used as investments in the Philippines, the BSP could team up with the corporate regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

"This is in coordination with SEC, if ever mag-shift to that -- 'yung ganong kind of approach na merong ano, there is investment already. It would not just be BSP, it's a collaboration," she said. —NB, GMA News