The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to take enforcement actions against digital currency exchange Binance’s illegal operations in the country.
In response to advocacy efforts by public policy think tank Infrawatch PH, the SEC has cautioned the public not to invest with Binance. The SEC also acknowledged that Binance has no authorization or license to operate in the country.
“Binance does not possess the necessary authority and/or license to solicit investments as only registered corporations can apply for and be issued the necessary licenses to solicit investments,” the letter sent by Attorney Oliver Leonardo, director of the SEC’s Enforcement and Investor Protection Department, said.
The SEC highlighted that by not obtaining the required licenses, Binance violates the Philippines’ Securities Regulation Code (SRC) and the Revised Corporation Code enforced by the commission, among others. Hence, the enforcement department is calling in investors who may have been affected by Binance’s operation to file complaints.
Terry Ridon, the convener of Infrawatch PH, remarked in a statement that the SEC’s move is welcome as it shows the government’s commitment to providing policy clarity and gives immediate protection to Binance users.
“As more Filipinos participate in this emerging sector, it is the duty of the government to ensure that all service providers follow strict regulatory mechanisms and undertake commitments protecting the investing public,” he added.
Binance’s operations in the Philippines
Infrawatch PH had written to the SEC to inform them of Binance’s illegal offering and promotion of unregistered securities last month. The letter argued that Binance’s over 1.4 million Filipino users were exposed to undue risk, urging the SEC to ban the exchange and impose fines and injunctions against it.
Before then, Infrawatch had appealed to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to also ban Binance back in June. In response, the DTI noted that it had no legal basis on which to ban the exchange.
Meanwhile, Binance has disclosed plans to get the required licenses from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippines central bank. According to a BitPinas report, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao has disclosed they are looking to secure a virtual assets service provider (VASP) license and the e-money issuer (EMI) license in the Philippines. The VASP license will authorize Binance to legally convert digital currencies to fiat and back, while the EMI license will allow the exchange to disburse digital assets in the country.
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