October 26, 2018. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reconfirms its commitment to release cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offering (ICO) rules by the end of 2018.
Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) has become a way for many companies to crowdfund to retail investors in exchange for tokens (Read: What are ICOs.) Normally, the companies issue their tokens in exchange for other cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. However, there are others that exchange the tokens for fiat such as USD or PHP.
The SEC wants to regulate this form of activity to protect retail investors. In August 2018, the Commission released its draft rules on initial coin offerings, detailing the Commission’s position on this specific crowdfunding activity, as well as its proposed rules on how it shall be regulated by the government.
The SEC requested for comments from the public on how to improve the draft rules. BitPinas has information that key blockchain-engaged companies, persons, and non-government organizations have submitted position papers to the SEC. (Read: Philippines Blockchain Community Discusses SEC’s Draft ICO Regulations)
It was widely expected for the final rules to be released by September 2018 but it did not materialize. The SEC extended the deadline for comments from the public up to September 30, 2018 and has mentioned that it is still accepting comments beyond that date, as confirmed by several persons familiar with the issue to BitPinas. (Note: The recent report from GMA news also confirmed this.)
The SEC is also working on rules to govern cryptocurrency trading. At the moment, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has already established guidelines for virtual currency exchanges. However, the said guidelines only cover “conversion of crypto to fiat and vice versa” and does not cover the kind of trading similar to what is being done in the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Read more: List of Licensed Virtual Currency Exchanges in the Philippines
SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong said they are closely working with the BSP for joint oversight of virtual currency trading. He also reconfirmed SEC’s goal to establish crypto trading rules by the end of 2018.
At the moment, there are a number of companies with a license to operate as a virtual currency exchange. Among them are Coins.ph, Rebittance of SCI Ventures, and VHCEX. The three also plan to launch order-book style crypto trading exchanges similar to online stock market exchange orders in the Philippines like COL Financial. While Coins.ph’s trading exchange called Coins Pro is currently in beta, not one of them has publicly launched their trading exchanges in anticipation to SEC’s virtual currency trading rules.
The article is written with reference to several BitPinas interviews as well as this recent report from GMA.