Sunday, March 3, 2024

SEC mulls blocking access to Binance’s platforms in PH

After issuing an advisory against crypto exchange Binance for operating without a license in the Philippines, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is moving to have the platform blocked in the country “to safeguard the public from unregistered investment products”.

In line with the issuance of the advisory, the SEC said it will request assistance from the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to block access to Binance in the Philippines.

“This will prohibit users from accessing the website and its applications while inside the country. The removal of access in the Philippines is expected to take effect within three months after the issuance of the advisory, in order to give Filipino investors who have holdings in Binance to close their positions and take out their investments,” the regulator said.

“Additionally, the SEC has requested Google and Meta, the operator of Facebook, to prohibit online advertisements from Binance appearing to users in the Philippines,” it added.

In its advisory dated Nov. 28, the SEC noted that Binance is not authorized to sell or offer securities to the public in the Philippines as it did not secure a secondary license from the SEC.

“Based on the Commission’s database, the operator of the platform Binance is not registered as a corporation in the Philippines and operates without the necessary license and/or authority to sell or offer any form of securities,” the advisory read.

A spokesman from Binance earlier told Newsbytes.PH in an email that it has stopped its marketing activities in the Philippines while it seeks to comply with local regulations.

“We acknowledge and respect the statement made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines. At Binance, we are committed to aligning with applicable local regulations. Under our new leadership, we have ceased all marketing activities in the Philippines as part of our proactive measures to address the SEC’s concerns,” the company spokesman stated.

The SEC said it has recently issued advisories against similar entities such as OctaFX/Octa Trading and MiTrade, as it looks to address the rising number of online entities soliciting investments from the public without the necessary licenses.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has been it hot water recently as its founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao pleaded guilty in the US to a felony related to his failure to prevent money laundering on the platform.

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