MiTrade and OctaFX blocked in Philippines, Binance still accessible

The Philippines National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is set to block websites of cryptocurrency exchanges offering investment products in the country without the necessary licenses.

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As reported by local media, the websites of crypto firms MiTrade and OctaFX are now inaccessible through one of the country’s largest internet providers. This move comes after the NTC issued an order on Feb. 21 to internet service providers, instructing them to block applications and websites of MiTrade for violating regulations enforced by the nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The NTC’s action follows a request from the SEC to start blocking websites of crypto platforms operating without a license in the country. In a press release, SEC Chairperson and CEO Emilio Aquino said the NTC’s action will help prevent investment scams in the country, supporting their efforts against “predatory financial schemes” and aiming to protect investors.

“The SEC and NTC will continue to work closely together to take similar actions on other platforms facilitating illegal investment-taking activities and other predatory financial schemes,” he added.

Despite the NTC’s crackdown, Binance website remains accessible in the country. The block on Binance’s access in the Philippines was set to take effect within three months from the release date of SEC’s advisory on November 28, giving Filipino users until late February to withdraw their investments from the exchange. However, there has been no clarification from the SEC on when the ban will be implemented.

In response to queries about Binance’s status in the country, an SEC spokesperson stated on Feb. 28 that the agency is assessing the situation. The spokesperson reiterated the SEC’s previous warning against Binance as the trading platform is not authorized to offer securities in the country. 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.

“The SEC is currently evaluating all possible ramifications of the blocking, including implications to Filipino customer funds. We are also working with other government agencies on the procedure of restraining unregistered entities’ operations in the Philippines,” the statement reads.Top of Form

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.

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.