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Philippine Regulator Warns Against Using Unlicensed Cryptocurrency Exchanges Following FTX Collapse

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The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has advised investors against transacting with unlicensed cryptocurrency exchanges. The warning followed the collapse of crypto exchange FTX which “left hundreds of thousands, even millions of unsecured creditors with little to no recourse in recovering their money,” the regulator stressed.

Philippine SEC Warns About Unregulated Crypto Exchanges

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an advisory Friday warning the public against transacting with unregistered cryptocurrency exchanges. The regulator wrote:

SEC strongly warns and advises the public against transacting with unregistered and unlicensed cryptocurrency exchanges reachable and deemed operating in the Philippines.

The advisory followed the collapse of crypto exchange FTX which “left hundreds of thousands, even millions of unsecured creditors with little to no recourse in recovering their money,” the Philippine SEC described.

The regulator proceeded to remind investors that an entity is required to register with the SEC if it intends to conduct business in the Philippines. “SEC is the registrar and overseer of the Philippine corporate sector; it supervises more than 600,000 active corporations and evaluates the financial statements (FS) filed by all corporations registered with it,” the advisory details. Moreover, “securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the Commission,” the regulator emphasized.

The Philippine SEC explained that unregistered crypto trading platforms “offer different products and schemes which are high risk and sometimes fraudulent,” adding:

A number of unregistered cryptocurrency exchanges are deliberately targeting Filipino investors and borrowers through online advertisements in social media and unlawfully allowing Filipinos to access their online platforms and permit the enrollment, creation, or registration of client accounts through online means.

The Philippine central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), maintains a list of virtual asset service providers (VASPs) that are licensed to operate in the country. As of Nov. 30, there are 19 companies on the list.

They are ABA Global Philippines (aka Coex Star), Appsolutely, Atomtrans Tech, Betur (aka Coins.ph), Bexpress, Bloom Solutions, Coinville Phils, Etranss Remittance International, Frenetic, I-Remit, Moneybees Forex, Paymaya Philippines, Philbit Money Changer and Remittance Services (aka Philbit), Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (aka PDAX), Rebittance, Topjuan Technologies, Wibs PHP, Xenremit, and Zybi Tech (aka Juan Cash).

The Philippines is among the countries with the highest crypto adoption, according to blockchain data analytics firm Chainalysis. The central bank also regularly warned investors about engaging with unregistered crypto service providers. In August, the BSP announced that it will stop accepting crypto license applications for three years starting in September.

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