The Philippines, as a country, has demonstrated time and time again that its interest in blockchain technology, cryptography, and cryptocurrencies is extremely high. In recent days, the government took a step forward in securing fair rules for everyone involved in crypto-related activities and services.

The Asian nation published a new set of regulations that will govern DATO, or Digital Asset Token Offerings. The information was made public via an official press release by the Asia Blockchain and Crypto Association (ABACA) on Monday, February 4th.

The rules were issued by the Philippines’ Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA,) and were made with the intention of safeguarding investors and regulating the crypto universe in the country, in the midst of a bear market price-wise, but also enjoying a boom in popularity and media presence as well.

The roles of CEZA and ABACA

The regulation touches sensitive subjects such as the acquisition of cryptocurrencies and related assets (utility and security tokens qualify.) Therefore, the CEZA will become the primary “watchdog”, whereas the ABACA will act as a self-regulatory organization in order to enforce the newly-created legal instructions.

According to the release’s instructions, each Digital Asset Token Offering will need to fulfill a series of requirements to perform its activities in the country. They all need to have proper offering paperwork detailing the issuer and the project at length, with advice and experts’ certification. The tokens will also need to be listed on the licensed Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange (OVCE).

The legal instrument is split into tiers. The first one covers assets that do not surpass $5 million made in digital coins, the second ones contains those that fall into the $6-$10 million range, and the final one governs those investments that surpass $10 million.

The administrator of CEZA, and also its CEO, Raul Lambino expressed his thoughts about the recently created regulations. “It is our goal to provide a clear set of rules and guidelines that will foster innovation yet ensure proper compliance by actors in the ecosystem. It is our hope that these set of regulatory innovations will take the digital asset sector one step closer to adoption and acceptance by institutions and the traditional financial system.”

What about ICOs?

The report does not directly mention the ever-controversial Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and their regulation in the Philippines. However, the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (PSEC) has been mentioning them for quite some time now, and the new norms can show the way to achieve common ground on that front.

The PSEC started taking matters into its own hands in August 2018, when it published several rules to be reviewed by the public. The organism proposed that any business venture or company registered in the country that wanted to perform an ICO was required to submit a document called “initial assessment request” to the Commission with the intention of trying to determine where the project would fall in the “security” or “not a security” debate.

And whilst the PSEC was bound to release the ICO regulation in September 2018 (after working hand to hand with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,) the institution informed at the start of 2019 that the draft was not yet ready because of a request by several stakeholders to further review the regulations.

By Andres Chavez


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