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Philippines gov’t urged to ban Binance over illegal promotion and sales

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A local public policy think tank in the Philippines has called on the government to investigate Binance exchange which has been promoting its services and even serving Filipinos without a license.

Known as Infrawatch PH, the think tank sent a letter to the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), calling for immediate action against Binance.

“We would like to bring to your immediate attention the illegal sales promotion of Binance which presumably have been launched without the necessary DTI permit considering the absence of a DTI permit number in the promotional advertisements and the general lack of applicable license and registration of Binance in the Philippines,” says the letter, penned by Infrawatch convener Terry Ridon, which local outlet Bitpinas had access to.

A former legislator, Ridon, claimed in the letter that Binance has been violating the country’s laws, serving residents despite not being licensed.

“As you may be aware, Binance, an unregistered entity in the Philippines, has been offering its services in the country for several years already. Their unregistered activity allows Filipinos to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and with wanton disregard of Philippine regulations,” he wrote.

Since Binance is unregistered, users who trade on its platform risk losing their money and not having any way to pursue it. As Ridon noted, even the country’s Finance Secretary has confirmed that Binance is unregistered in the Philippines.

The think tank referred to comments made by Carlos Dominguez III, the Finance Secretary, who stated that the exchange “is not registered with us as a company, but we are tracing them through the system.”

Even Binance has confirmed that it’s not registered in the Southeast Asian country. Speaking a month ago, CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed that the exchange was looking to attain a Virtual Asset Service Provider license and the EMI license, the latter being for more traditional financial services.

For Binance, operating without first obtaining a license is nothing new. It has been found to offer services in dozens of jurisdictions where it wasn’t registered, from Hong Kong to South Africa to the U.K., and more. In many of these jurisdictions, it has been forced to wind down operations due to regulatory pressure.

In the Philippines, the local think tank is playing its part in ridding the market of the unregistered entity. Just a month ago, Infrawatch sent a similar letter to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country’s central bank, urging it to ban Binance.

Infrawatch urged the central bank to study the exchange’s operations, suspend it and reject any future application of Binance for the VASP license.

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