P Xenos and M Bacina
IMF forging Philippines into a global crypto player
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) have published a 34-page Technical Assistance Report on the Philippines, as part of its periodic consultation with the country’s regulators.
The contents of the report constitute technical advice provided by the IMF staff to the authorities of the Philippines in response to their request for technical assistance.
The IMF is also helping the Philippines’ central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), in several areas to improve the quality of monetary and financial statistics compiled by the central bank.
At the request of the BSP, the IMF also delivered a lecture on the treatment of crypto assets in macroeconomic statistics, emphasizing the growing number of crypto exchanges approved by the BSP. The IMF asserted:
The Philippines may become an important market for crypto assets.
In 2017, the BSP adopted a formal crypto regulatory framework through the issuance of Circular No. 944. This law required that businesses engaged in the exchange of cryptocurrencies for fiat money in the Philippines are required to register with the central bank as remittance and transfer companies.
There are currently 13 approved crypto exchanges in the Philippines, with the IMF reporting that “the mission encourages the BSP to start exploring the possibility of collecting data on these exchanges for macroeconomic analysis, in particular international financial flows using crypto assets,” elaborating:
The mission suggests requesting aggregated data, on a quarterly basis, on gross transactions, indicating the country of origin and destination of the funds transacted.
The suggestions by the IMF are similar to the recommendations by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body responsible for developing policies to combat money laundering. The FATF issued guidance on a risk-based approach to virtual assets and related service providers in June of last year.