Business

Derek Tonin

Philippines SEC hopes to regulate ICOs in 2019

The Philippines are about to take a big step towards protecting their citizens from the potential of initial coin offering (ICO) scams. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it hopes to put out guidelines and regulations for ICOs in 2019, BusinessWorld reported.

The push to regulate ICOs are part of the SEC’s natural push to regulate new financial products, but has been made more urgent by their key role in many scams. SEC chairperson Emilio B. Aquino noted:

“We want that out already because these are additional products. But at the same time [our concern is], some of the scams here are saying they are into crypto and all that. They’re just adding additional problems.”

That’s the good news, but the reality is this is a delay. Aquino admitted that they would be unable to release those guidelines in the second quarter due to problems they encountered with another scam.

The Kapa Community Ministry International has been a big focus of Philippines news lately. It has allegedly scammed Filipino investors out of PHP50 billion ($960 million), and the SEC has had to divert much of its attention towards the big story, taking its focus away from ICOs. That might not have been a big problem, but with the crypto markets returning to healthy levels, the time to act is now. “But we are there, we want it out soonest. It has to be this year,” Mr. Aquino said.

The new guidelines are expected to regulate ICOs as well as digital currency exchanges, and earlier proposals have recommended ICOs register with the SEC before soliciting investment, so that the agency can determine if they are legitimate. They would also have to give the SEC a plan of how they intend to use the funds.

Aquino told reporters that the SEC is looking towards the Australian regulatory model, specifically because it offers a stricter approach to ICOs.

ICO, and cryptocurrency regulation in general, is sorely needed in the Philippines, as investors have fallen prey to scam investment offerings in the past. In April 2018, almost made off with $17 million in SegWitCoin BTC before getting arrested. They were offering guaranteed returns of 30% on investment, an offer that was obviously too good to be true, but still caught 50 people in their trap. 

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