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A Tale of Two Countries: Morocco Bans, Philippines Legalizes Bitcoin

Signifying the two polar ends of the current regulatory spectrum for cryptocurrencies, the Moroccan government just banned Bitcoin trading while the Philippines’ top regulator just officially legalized the #1 crypto as a security.

For Morocco’s part, their Office des Champs just mandated that all citizens follow the national “Exchange Regulations.”

These regulations mandate that Moroccans’ “financial transactions with foreign countries must be made via authorized intermediaries and with foreign currencies listed by Bank Al-Maghrib.”

Alas, since Bitcoin isn’t traded by authorized Moroccan banks and since it’s not an approved foreign currency, the bellwether cryptocurrency is effectively outlawed henceforth in the North African nation.

Accordingly, Morocco joins the likes of Russia and China as nations who have issued varying degrees of official anti-Bitcoin measures.

Yet right as Morocco banned Bitcoin, the Philippines legalized it as a security — providing an interesting, and more liberal counter-example in the global regulatory purview.

The nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission (PhSEC) Commissioner Emilio Aquino declared in a November 21st statement that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are by and large going to be considered as securities in the archipelago nation:

“The direction is for us to consider this so-called virtual currencies […] as possible securities in which case we will apply the Securities Regulation Code.”

Aquino also noted that ICOs will need to register as securities with the Philippines’ SEC going forward:

“This initial coin offering — depending on, as said, the facts and circumstances in which the offering is made especially in raising capital — may be considered as securities, in which case they cannot just be offered without registering with SEC.”

In these new regulatory developments out of Morocco and the Philippines, then, is the yin-yang regulatory theme of the crypto space as a whole right now: some governments are liberalizing, while others are cracking down in kind.

TLDR: Morocco and the Philippines signify two ends of the regulatory spectrum, as the former’s just banned Bitcoin trading and the latter’s legalized it as a security. 

William M. Peaster is a cryptocurrency journalist and copy-editor based out of El Paso, Texas. He's an avid fan of Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens, and smart contracts in general.

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