The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has officially warned against 14 cryptocurrency investment schemes seeking to attract consumers in the country.
In an advisory statement issued Wednesday, the regulator listed the names of the 14 investment projects, including Onecash, which was already called out by the SEC in a previous warning last month. As such, while the notice is not a first for the country, it yet again signals the financial regulator's effort to strengthen its scrutiny over cryptocurrency activities in the Philippines.
In further description, the SEC said these investment projects - deemed by the agency as unregistered securities - usually tout "unrealistic returns ranging from 10 percent to 200 percent per month" and claim to invest in cryptocurrencies to "justify their earning capacity."
The SEC stated that any person that acts as a salesperson, broker or dealer for these investment projects may be subject to prosecution that result in a maximum penalty of 5 million pesos (or $277,000) fine or imprisonment of 21 years.
Although the SEC has not directly called out these investment projects as Ponzi schemes, the regulator further informed the public on how to differentiate potential internet-based scams with criteria that appear similar to its description of the captioned projects in the statement.
The warning also comes a time when the country's lawmakers are pushing to expedite bills that seek to toughen penalties for crimes that involve cryptocurrencies, sparked by a recent police crackdown on a domestic bitcoin fraud that hoaxed $50 million from domestic victims.