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Info The SEC Has Officially Banned Crypto Giant Binance in the Philippines


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday has moved to officially block the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance in the Philippines.

In a press statement, the SEC said the ban on Binance’s online presence in the Philippines follows the meeting of the Commission en banc on March 12, where it "approved the filing of a formal request with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for assistance in blocking (Binance’s) website and other web pages."

The Commission said the crypto giant had been offering an investment and trading platform without an SEC license. The Binance app is also easily downloadable from the Apple App Store and Google Playstore.

Writing to the NTC, SEC chair Emilio B. Aquino said, "The SEC has identified the aforementioned platform and concluded that the public’s continued access to these websites/apps poses a threat to the security of the funds of investing Filipinos." The SEC in early March had also requested for NTC’s help in blocking access to other unregistered investment platforms such as OctaFX and MiTrade.

Binance has said it is a facility for trading financial instruments and other products, including spot trading using leverage, futures contracts, option contracts, cryptocurrency savings accounts, cryptocurrency staying services, and a platform for initial coin offerings.

The SEC already warned the public against dealing with Binance last November, giving the latter’s Filipino investors enough time to pull out their funds prior to the blocking of the company’s online presence in the country.

The Commission’s warning last year was issued a week after Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao resigned from his post after pleading guilty for violating anti-money laundering laws in the United States. The company is registered in the Cayman Islands, and is reputed to be the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, with an estimated trading volume of $65 million every day. The company has since been hit by investigations or closures in other parts of the world such as Nigeria and Russia.

Cryptocurrencies, which were once hailed as a revolutionary investment and alternative form of payment, have been dealt a blow after high-profile controversies involving fraud among crypto firms and key executives. Prior to Zhao’s violation of anti-money laundering rules, Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the fraud-ridden FTX crypto platform, was found guilty of having stolen $10 billion from the company’s investors and clients.

Binance entered the Philippines via community meetings in December 2018, just a year after Zhao founded the company. It had earlier estimated around five million individuals were using blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the country. To push its expansion in the country, Binance started offering peer-to-peer trading for Philippine pesos, which allowed Filipino investors a way to access cryptocurrencies in their local currency. It also added e-wallets such as GCash, as a payment option for Filipino crypto users.

Binance reported revenues of $12 billion in 2022, and counts some 7,000 employees as of 2023. No transactions details were available for its Philippine unit.
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