PH plans cryptocurrency exchange

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 2) – The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) wants to be front and center when regulators give the go signal for the trading of cryptocurrencies.

The local bourse should be the exchange platform for crypto assets, PSE president and CEO Ramon Monzon said Friday. The idea was broached during a top management meeting two weeks ago, he added.

"If there should be any exchange for cryptos, it should be done at the PSE. Why? Number one, it's because we have the trading infrastructure. But more important, we'll be able to have investor protection safeguards especially with a product like crypto," Monzon said.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and ether are digital assets, but very few crypto trading platforms are listed, like Wall Street's Coinbase.

Cryptocurrencies are not issued by a central authority - making them difficult to be controlled or regulated by governments or central authorities. Still, bitcoins saw a run-up in prices to over $60,000 early this year before the rally tapered off amid a China crackdown on crypto traders, making the asset plunge to around $30,000. The PSE said cryptos are an asset class the Philippines cannot ignore anymore given mounting interest.

"Yang crypto wala namang fundamentals yan eh (Cryptocurrencies have no fundamentals). It's all capital gains, meaning the price I get from my crypto is the price you are willing to pay... So a lot of people are attracted to that because of the volatility. Instant riches could be instant poverty too... If there's going to be any structured trading of crypto in the Philippines, dapat sa atin yan (it should be under our watch)," Monzon said.

"Unfortunately, we are not in a position to do that now kasi wala pa tayong rules from the regulator eh (because we don't have rules yet from the regulator)," he added.

As early as 2019, corporate regulator Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began seeking comments from banks, investors, and the public on whether the Philippines is ready to build a cryptocurrency exchange.

The exchange, according to Monzon, is just awaiting guidelines from the SEC and other regulators.