The Philippines has become the latest country to become the first to ban the sale of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether.
The move, which took effect from April 1, is being hailed by the Philippines government as an effort to fight money laundering and terrorism.
“This move has been in the works for several years, but it’s finally happening,” National Capital Region police chief Oscar Albayalde said in a video on Tuesday.
“We want to keep the country safe and free, so we are doing this because we know that the government and the people of the country have a strong sense of safety and a strong desire to ensure their economic well-being,” he added.
Bitcoin, an alternative digital currency, is currently the most popular digital currency in the world, according to the CoinMarketCap website.
It is used by millions of people worldwide to buy and sell goods and services.
It was the subject of a landmark UN ruling last year, which ordered all currencies in the Philippines to be regulated as money services businesses and allowed for its taxation.
Bitcoin has been used as an alternative to traditional payment systems in the country, such as Western Union and PayPal.
The government has also been pushing for the legalization of the virtual currency since at least 2012, with the Philippine government planning to set up a regulatory body for cryptocurrencies.
President Rodrigo Duterte also said last year that the country’s new central bank, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), would be tasked with monitoring the activities of cryptocurrency exchanges and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that are trading in cryptocurrencies.
Albayalde said the ban will make it easier for the NBI to track cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as those trading cryptocurrencies that have been banned.
The ban will also help the NBO, which already has a section to monitor cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrencies trading, to identify those involved in illicit activities.
The NBI said it would also look into whether exchanges, which are considered illegal under the existing law, are complying with regulations and the law.
Albayalde, however, cautioned against complacency.
“If they [exchanges] are not following the law, we will continue to work with the NBP on a case-by-case basis.
We will continue this effort and we will be alert to any irregularities in the activities,” he said.
The government has already made several efforts to curb cryptocurrencies.
Last year, it banned the sale and distribution of cryptocurrencies and blockchain assets, among other measures.
Last year, the government also issued regulations to regulate ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges.
The new regulations are designed to make it more difficult for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate.
Bitcoin prices have been surging in recent months, driven by surging demand from investors who see cryptocurrencies as a safe haven.
Bitcoin reached a peak of $3,959 on April 29.