Crypto Investment Firm Violates Securities Laws, Warns Philippines

The watchdog has warned the public over a crypto investment platform that is allegedly violating securities laws in the country.

AccessTimeIconMar 15, 2018 at 9:50 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:41 a.m. UTC
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The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning over a cryptocurrency investment platform that it alleges is offering unregistered securities.

According to an advisory issued Wednesday, the SEC takes aim at at firm dubbed Onecash Trading which, according to its website, aims to recruit investors as affiliated cryptocurrency traders or "builders" who will be rewarded in local currency for recruiting new members of the scheme.

The SEC alert also states that, based on information it has gathered, the firm has been promising potential investors returns of 200 percent interest over eight weeks.

Onecash boasts global coverage across 73 different countries, though its registered headquarters is not known.

The SEC said the firm is offering investors in the Philippines offerings of unregistered securities, and as such:

"The public is hereby warned that such investment schemes whether with the use of money or virtual currencies such as bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, dash, litecoin, monero, SIBcoin, mooncoin and many others are considered as securities subject to the regulatory authority of this Commission."

The recruitment of new scheme members is also considered a form of investment solicitation or a sale of securities, it adds.

As stated in the advisory, salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents involved with promoting, selling and recruiting investment services for Onecash may be prosecuted and face penalties up to 5 million pesos ($270,000) or imprisonment of up to 21 years.

Like regulators in a number of countries, the Philippines SEC has been increasing its oversight over cryptocurrency related investments recently, following a cease-and-desist order it issued to an initial coin offering in January. In this case, the agency stopped short of issuing such an order for Onecash, however.

Furthermore, a Senate bill introduced this week is also seeking heavier penalties for those convicted of crimes that involve cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin and peso image via CoinDesk's archive.


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