By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter
THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it hopes to release its guidelines for digital assets next year, after the initial release date was pushed back due to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
“We had been drafting the digital asset offerings and digital asset exchange rules. Now, what hindered us from coming out with that last year was the FTX scandal,” SEC Chairman Emilio B. Aquino told reporters on Friday.
Asked about the new target date, he said: “I think it is safe to say that it will be next year because it is long due. I have always believed in digital technology and financial technology (fintech).”
He said that the FTX collapse led the SEC to review its guidelines as the regulator does not want it to happen in the Philippines.
“Nonetheless, I think it’s inevitable (for crypto to be traded in the Philippines) because as we are talking, I am sure there are offerings being done… so we might as well come out with the regulations and make sure that adequate safeguards are there.”
Mark V. Santarina, senior trader at Globalinks Securities and Stocks, Inc., said that the investor community is “excitedly” awaiting the SEC guidelines for the crypto market.
“Clear regulations not only enhance market trust, protect investors, and stimulate innovation but also position the country as a global and regional leader in crypto regulation, attracting international projects,” Mr. Santarina said in a Viber message.
“These regulations also encourage compliance, reduce conflicts, and support job creation, solidifying the Philippines’ influence in the Southeast Asian cryptocurrency scene,” he added.
He said that it is the SEC’s duty to come up with guidelines that will prevent failures like FTX.
“I am confident that the market is prepared for this development. Notably, major players such as Globe and PLDT’s fintech arm have already ventured into cryptocurrency,” he said.
“This presents increased opportunities for crypto startups, and ensures the protection of retail investors from fraud and crypto scams,” he added.
Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said the release of the framework may lead credible and traditional global financial institutions to enter the market.
“(If they) start to offer these type of related investments, that can be a source of trust and confidence for the investing public,” Mr. Ricafort said in a Viber message.
He added that the SEC must address the regulatory mistakes and failures in recent years.
“This will ensure the utmost protection of the investing public especially against scams, fraud, and other unscrupulous practices,” he said.
Mr. Aquino said that the SEC will be looking at “best practices” of other countries, including those of ASEAN neighbors.
“This is important because they have already experienced it … so might as well be able to pick up from them and learn what to put up,” he said.
Ronald Gustilo, national campaigner of a network of digital asset advocates known as Digital Pinoys, said that the target release date for next year is “too far away.”
“The anticipated release date for next year is considered too far away for the crypto community, highlighting the immediate need for SEC intervention to ensure their protection,” Mr. Gustilo said in a Viber message.
“Given the extensive duration it took to finalize the plan, it is expected to encompass measures safeguarding consumers, including harsh penalties for unregistered firms and government authority to confiscate cryptocurrencies used in illicit activities,” he added.
He added that the regulations will help validate crypto businesses and should be designed to minimize market manipulation, fair pricing and security.
“It requires platforms to share pertinent information with investors and crypto holders, aiding them in making informed decisions regarding their digital assets,” he said.