By LITO RULONA
Northern Mindanao Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP-NM) on Tuesday asked Mark Freeman, founder of Freedom Traders Club to stop in virtual exchanges of peso investment to crypto currencies online unless if they were allowed by law.
This was the call made by BSP-NM deputy regional director Maribeth Bañez during the on-going investigation called by the City Council’s Committee on Trade, Commerce and Industry on Friday.
“We want to protect the public not only on the peso currency but including the coming-in of any other digital currencies,” Bañez said adding that how can Freedom Traders Club – Ploutus Coin engaged in virtual currencies wherein they don’t have any licenses.
She said Freeman itself quoted that he uses the platform of Bitcoin but there was no proper coordination with the BSP.
“Huwag nilang i-quote yung Bitcoin dahil registered na ito ng BSP and then sila wala pa. And then Freeman admitted that they don’t have plan in integrating with Bitcoin. Freeman is putting something in the mind of the public that this is the registered and then pumapasok sila na wala naman sila relation at all,” she explained.
Bañez said the newest information they get during the Digital Transformation Series 2018: Fintech and Blockchain Innovation Summit, no less than Mr. Melchor Plabasan, Deputy Director of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas shared the myths and truths about cryptocurrencies in relation to the Philippine Central Bank.
“Cryptocurrency is not backed by a central government and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) does not endorse. Mr. Plabasan noted that the lack of government backing is proof that it is not legal tender. It’s not stable and it still does not have widespread acceptability.”
BSP always aims for the public’s safety. The regulator is “more regulatory” to protect Filipinos and the country against people who want to take advantage of it. This is also the reason why they require Coins.ph, to filter people and ensure that their platforms are not used for illicit activities,” she said.
Bañez said BSP is also keeping an open mind about cryptos and blockchain and is trying its best to keep cryptocurrency regulated to protect the Filipino public.
On February 6, 2017, the agency released Circular No. 944, a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. This is the first step in regulating local exchanges.
The BSP is also working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about the licensing of ICOs and crypto exchanges.
“Under Circular 944, BSP is also looking into the possible money laundering coming from other countries. Consumer protection is the bases of BSP kay ingon dayun sa publiko ngano ang taga-gobyerno walay gibuhat.”
“Holding the regulation of the BSP on virtual coin transaction and Freedom Traders Club has no license yet and they don’t have the personality to engage any business,” Bañez said.