Warning sign — Photo

Philippines: SEC warns public against investing in Tether Pay

The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a public advisory warning the public against investing in Tether Pay on the grounds of the entity’s failure to register with the Commission.

The SEC stated that Tether Pay, headed by its CEO Rendon Duran, has been illegally soliciting investments from the public under the guise of investing them in digital assets trading. An online investment from Tether Pay claimed to offer investors returns of up to 210% in 70 days or 3% daily while assuring users of the option to withdraw their funds at any time.

Duran and his entities claimed that Tether Pay was “the most stable USDT smart contract” and offered users the opportunity to earn through referrals. The SEC warned that Tether Pay was also doing business under the following names: Tether.Pay.com, Tether Pay Ltd, and Tether Pay Limited.

The SEC surmised that Tether Pay’s offer violated sections 8 and 26 of the Securities Regulation Code, which requires all investment contracts to be registered with the SEC. Apart from registering the offer, Tether Pay appears to have failed to obtain a registration with the SEC.

“In view thereof, the public is advised NOT TO INVEST or STOP INVESTING in any investment scheme being offered by TETHER-PAY/TETHER.PAY.COM/TETHER PAY LTD./TETHER PAY LIMITED vis-à-vis RENDON DURAN,” the warning read.

A stern warning was also issued to individuals who acted as salesmen or promoters to convince the public to invest in Tether Pay. The commission floated the possibility of jail time of up to 21 years and the imposition of fines not exceeding PHP5 million.

A cache of advisories in 2022

The Filipino security watchdog has been on its toes since the start of 2022 in drawing attention to unregulated activities from digital asset firms. In particular, the SEC has released public advisories against soliciting investments for unregistered securities.  

The Commission has released nearly 100 of these advisories in the last 12 months and shows no signs of slowing down, even during the holidays. Digital assets are considered securities by Filipino regulators, with the SEC exercising a measure of control over the industry.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, has not hidden its dislike for virtual currencies, mulling over the prospects of a blanket ban. New virtual currency service providers will not be able to obtain operational licenses from the BSP for three years to “ensure that associated risks remain within manageable levels.”

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple,
Ethereum, FTX and Tether—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

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