BSP to stop accepting new virtual asset service provider applications on Sept. 1

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THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will stop accepting new applications on Sept. 1, 2022 for virtual asset service provider (VASP) licenses which allow financial firms to engage in cryptocurrency exchange.

“The Bangko Sentral will no longer entertain nor accept new applications beginning 01 September 2022,” the central bank said in a statement Friday.

The BSP said the move is part of its approved modified approach to the grant of VASP licenses.

It involves closure of the regular application window for new VASP licenses for a period of three years and the granting of new VASP licenses only to existing BSP supervised financial institutions (BSFI), the central bank said.

The BSP said existing BSFIs with strong risk management systems, client suitability assessment, and customer onboarding practices as well as intensified financial consumer education may still apply.

“Recent market developments have necessitated the adoption of a modified VASP licensing approach, which strategically shifts the focus to assessing the existing Bangko Sentral-registered VASPs’ overall performance and risk management systems, their impact on financial services and financial inclusion agenda, and their contribution towards the achievement of the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap objectives,” BSP Gov. Felipe Medalla said.

According to BSP, applications that have passed Stage 2 of the licensing process on or before Aug. 31 will be processed and assessed. Incomplete applications will be considered closed.

It can be recalled that UnionBank earlier announced it would slowly roll out a cryptocurrency exchange service to select consumers to become the first universal bank to offer virtual assets on its mobile app.