There is little knowledge of virtual currencies among the vast majority of the population. The Monetary Board and the Central Bank on 29 June 2017 warned the public in general about the use of virtual currencies in the country, stating that they do not have the legal backing or protection of the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic. Also, the communique stated that virtual currency may not be compared to forreing currency as they are not backed by a Central Bank of another country. Furthermore, through the commmunique the Monetary Board and the Central Bank prohibited all the regulated institutions of the national financial system to trade, acquire, use or accept virtual currencies, stating that sanctions will be imposed on the institutions that violate the prohibition. Nevertheless, some businesses are starting to accept virtual currencies as payment methods, and we know of bitcoin exchange ATM’s operating in the country.
There is still no specific regulation on virtual currencies by authorities in the Dominican Republic, however, as per the provisions of Law 183 02 Monetary and Financial Law, the only entities authorized to perform financial intermediation both in national and foreign currencies are the Financial Intermediation Entities (Multiple Banks, Savings and Loans Banks, Credit Corporations and Savings and Loans Association) all subject to authorization, registration and supervision by the entities of the monetary and financial administration, i.e. Monetary Board, Central Bank and Superintendence of Banks.
Although as per the provisions of Law 183-02 all money debts shall be paid in the agreed currency, and allows certain types of Financial Intermediation Entities to perform services in foreign currencies, as well as exchange agencies to perform currency exchange services, although the Monetary Board communique of 29 June 2017 prohibits the regulated institutions of the national financial system of trading, acquiring, using or accepting virtual currencies or to assimilate them as foreing currency.
The market for financial services using virtual foreign currencies in the Dominican Republic is small, and it may get smaller after the communique of the Monetary Board.
José Cruz Campillo
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic