Philippine bars access to Binance, citing unregistered operations
The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is moving to block access to Binance due to regulatory concerns, citing the platform’s operation without proper registration and authorization in the country.
The SEC warned that Binance was “not authorized to sell or offer securities to the public in the Philippines, pursuant to Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code (SRC).”
Binance’s operator is not a registered corporation in the Philippines, and as such, is not authorized to sell or offer securities or other investment products to the public. The SEC highlighted that Binance has been actively promoting crypto trading to Filipinos, including through social media, which is considered an offense under Philippine law.
In its advisory, the SEC warned that individuals acting as promoters, recruiters, influencers, endorsers, or enablers for Binance in the Philippines, even through online channels, could face criminal liability. The penalties for these offenses could include fines up to 5 million Philippine Pesos (roughly $90,000) or imprisonment for up to 21 years.
The Philippine SEC is seeking the assistance of the National Telecommunications Commission to implement the block on Binance’s domains. Additionally, the regulator has directed tech giants like Google and Meta to stop displaying local ads from the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform.
The block on Binance’s access in the Philippines is set to take effect within three months from the release date of SEC’s advisory on November 28, giving Filipino users time to withdraw their investments from the exchange.
In response, Binance said was aware of the statement made by the country’s financial regulator and respect it.
“At Binance, we are committed to aligning with applicable local regulations. Under our new leadership, we have taken proactive steps to address the SEC’s concerns,” its statement said.
Philippines’ local laws mandate that entities seeking to participate in activities involving buying or selling securities, functioning as a broker-dealer, or establishing and managing a securities exchange must obtain an additional license from the SEC.
This development follows the recent resignation and guilty plea of former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao in the U.S. for failing to comply with anti-money laundering rules. Binance itself agreed to pay over $4.3 billion and pleaded guilty to breaking the federal AML and sanctions laws.