Cryptocurrency compliance to ensure bright future in PH

SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lee talks about cryptocurrency regulation in the Philippines
Commissioner Kelvin Lee of the Securities and Exchange Commission talks about cryptocurrency regulation

As cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity in the Philippines, industry stakeholders launched on March 5 the first in a series of quarterly meetups.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Kelvin Lee was the keynote speaker at the first “Crypto Compliance Conversations” meetup. The meetups will provide a deep dive into compliance issues for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) while also encouraging innovation.

Collaborating to prevent financial crime

Emfarsis Director Leah Callon-Butler welcomes stakeholders to the first "Crypto Compliance Conversations" meetup
Emfarsis Director Leah Callon-Butler welcomes stakeholders to the first “Crypto Compliance Conversations” meetup

Also joining via Zoom from Singapore were Elliptic Chief Operating Officer Simone Maini and Elliptic Head of Growth Seimin Kuan. They shared the blockchain analytics firm’s expertise in helping businesses protect themselves from financial crime in cryptocurrency.

For cryptocurrency developers and other stakeholders, one of the biggest pain points for the industry is regulatory uncertainty. Meanwhile, one of the biggest concerns for regulators is to ensure compliance with the policies of the Financial Action Task Force and prevent the use of cryptocurrency for criminal activity, such as money laundering.

To encourage industry collaboration, consulting firm Emfarsis organized the “Crypto Compliance Conversations” meetup, which its client Elliptic sponsored. Emfarsis is a consulting firm focused on the use of technology to push economic development in Asia.

Emfarsis was involved in the V20 Osaka, a two-day industry summit held in June 2019 for the world’s leading VASPs, held in parallel to the G20 Leaders Summit. The V20 Osaka brought together government and industry stakeholders for better collaboration. By working together, they could deliver a coordinated response to the FATF’s proposed updated standards.

“The V20 Osaka demonstrated the power of collaboration between a wide variety of stakeholders, with the goal of preventing financial crime while continuing to drive the nascent crypto industry forward. Emfarsis recognises the importance of continuing these efforts at a local level, particularly as the regulatory landscape continues to evolve and crypto-related businesses work to keep up with new requirements. As Emfarsis is based in Pampanga, this was our motivation to bring the local crypto compliance community together in Manila for a constructive discussion,” Emfarsis Director Leah Callon-Butler told Digital Life Asia via email.

Making cryptocurrency mainstream

The "Crypto Compliance Conversations" meetup brought together government and industry stakeholders
The “Crypto Compliance Conversations” meetup brought together government and industry stakeholders

The Philippines is one of the countries leading the way in cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is legal in the Philippines, with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas establishing guidelines for Virtual Currency exchanges by issuing Circular No. 944 on June 2, 2017.

In fact, Elliptic sees the Philippines as a very important market for virtual assets. Two of its clients are leading the way in the cryptocurrency revolution in the Philippines, namely and PDAX.

Last year, Union Bank of the Philippines became the first Philippine bank to launch its own cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, Philippine boxing champion and senator Manny Pacquiao launched the world’s first celebrity ctyptocurrency.

Moreover, blockchain technology is truly taking off, and financial institutions are embracing insurtech. As such, expect more collaboration between government and industry stakeholders.

In the end, compliance and innovation must go hand-in-hand to ensure the success of cryptocurrency.

Author: Joey Alarilla founder and editor-in-chief. Writer. Geek. Gamer. Loves science, sci-fi, books, comic books, cyberpunk, AI, and BLACKPINK. Lisa fan. Chronicling the Asian Century.