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  • L Misthos and S Pettigrove

Philippines KOs offshore exchanges

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines has ordered tech giants Apple and Google to remove the Binance app from app stores, citing regulatory and investor concerns.

The SEC released a statement in which Emilio B. Aquino, Chairperson of the SEC, suggested Binance was operating as an unregistered broker and selling unregistered securities to Filipinos.

The SEC has identified [Binance] and concluded that the public’s continued access to these websites/apps poses a threat to the security of the funds of investing Filipinos,

Last year, the SEC warned the public against investing in and using Binance and began exploring means for blocking the company's website and apps. The regulator took steps to block access to the Binance website last month following a transition period to allow users to withdraw funds.

[Removing and blocking applications of Binance will] prevent the further proliferation of its illegal activities in the country, and to protect the investing public from its detrimental effects on our economy,

Binance operates the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, but it has faced a series of legal setbacks in recent months. Binance’s founder, Changpeng Zhao (AKA CZ) stepped down as CEO at the end of last year and was sentenced to four months prison this week over AML/CTF breaches.

The SEC’s actions follow a broader crackdown on unlicensed crypto exchanges offering services in the country. It is also part of a broader global trend to regulate and licence crypto exchanges domestically and restrict access to offshore offerings. Binance itself has taken steps to seek licensing in local jurisdictions, recently becoming the first virtual exchange to obtain an operational MVP licence in Dubai from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority.

By Steven Pettigrove and Luke Misthos


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