Starting the beginning of next month, the Philippines’ central bank (Bangko Sentral) will put a hold on the processing of applications for new virtual asset services providers (VASP) licenses in the country.

According to a memo released on Wednesday, the suspension of reviews will be for a period of three years in which the Bangko Sentral will monitor market developments and conduct a reassessment of the situation, aiming to “to strike a balance between promoting innovation in the financial sector and ensuring that associated risks remain within manageable levels.”

Applications that have made it past stage 2 of the bank’s licensing process by Aug. 31 will see their applications assessed and processed as per normal, while those with incomplete requirements will be denied.

While the new ruling could be hurting new crypto players in the Philippines, existing Bangko Sentral-supervised financial institutions are unaffected. Those that wish to expand into crypto operations can still file for a VASP license.

With a population of almost 110 million people and more than 10 million Filipino’s working overseas, there is significant use case for crypto services to be offered in the country. Add to that the fact that more than half of Filipino’s 18 and above do not own a bank account, cryptocurrency adoption undoubtedly spurs financial inclusion in the country.

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