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Community Reacts: Infrawatch vs Binance and Coinbase

Community Reacts - Infrawatch vs Binance and Coinbase
  • The local crypto community has expressed mixed reactions to Infrawatch’s actions, with some criticizing the think tank for attempting to manipulate the free market, while others emphasize the importance of technological innovation in the cryptocurrency industry.
  • Atty. Rafael Padilla suggests that if Binance’s peer-to-peer (P2P) service is being offered in the Philippines without proper licensing, there may be legal issues from the perspective of the BSP.
  • Infrawatch PH has sent a letter to Philippine regulators, including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), urging the banning of Binance and Coinbase in the country.

Following the 5th letter of the thinktank Infrawatch to Philippine regulators against global cryptocurrency firm Binance–this time involving another international exchange Coinbase– the local crypto community shared their thoughts on its actions.

Community Reaction

BitPinas have had various reactions regarding the recent news of Infrawatch PH calling for the banning of Binance and Coinbase in the Philippines, citing charges from U.S. regulators. 

Clearly, most of the commenters of the BitPinas Facebook posts (1,2) are not happy with the continuous actions of the thinktank targeting the exchanges. One of them even requests for a complete ban on Infrawatch “for attempting to manipulate the free market and forcing the users to comply (with) their demands.”

“Innovate n’yo na lang (your) services n’yo. Local exchanges, high fees and few selection of coins. Binance pa din ang (is still the) gold standard for crypto exchanges. The reason why our country is moving backwards,” a netizen commented. 

Another was neutral and emphasized that the SEC lawsuit against Binance is just one of several legal challenges the cryptocurrency industry is currently facing. He stressed that, “technological innovation is the way forward!”

Expert Opinion: Will Binance and Coinbase be banned in PH?

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Back for another live stream interview on YouTube, Paul A. or Coach Miranda Miner, a crypto-related vlogger and CEO of web3 learning platform FEASTGold and Atty. Rafael Padilla, the co-founder and trustee of BlockDevs Asia, professor of Law at San Beda Alabang, and a BitPinas contributor, discussed if Binance and Coinbase will really get banned in the country. 

Mababan nga ba ang Coinbase and Binance sa Pinas? Dapat na bang ilipat ang mga coins?

“This letter might not be that helpful because it did not provide the legal analysis; it basically (just) complains what the problems are or the issues (of) Binance or Coinbase,” he stated.

Atty. Padilla noted that while the Infrawatch did not state it in its letter, if BSP will initiate an investigation, they might realize that the if Binance P2P is being made available in the country and it is actually a virtual asset service while the exchange is not licensed locally, “then there might be an issue from the perspective of the BSP.”

The Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASP) license, overseen by the BSP, enables entities to lawfully facilitate transactions involving virtual assets, including exchanging virtual assets for fiat currency, virtual asset-to-virtual asset exchanges, and the custody or transfer of virtual assets. Currently, there is a temporary halt on approving new VASPs for a period of three years, effective September 1, 2022.

Priorly, the two also shared their thoughts on the US SEC charge on the exchanges. Atty. Padilla noted that in the event that the SEC succeeds in the case against Binance and Coinbase, the impact would extend beyond the United States as influence of its regulators is significant, and it is likely that regulators in other jurisdictions, including the Philippines SEC, would also take similar actions. 

Infrawatch vs. Binance

The recent call to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) raised concerns about the risks associated with Binance’s P2P model, suggesting a prohibition on local banks facilitating payments to the platform. Additionally, Infrawatch highlights the Philippines’ continued presence on the FATF gray list as a cause for alarm.

In February 2023, it also sent a letter to the BSP regarding the alleged unauthorized activities of the exchange in the Philippines. 

In September 2022, Infrawatch PH convenor Terry L. Ridon wrote a letter to the central bank raising concerns about backdoor acquisitions in relation to Binance’s reported acquisition of a local firm holding Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) and EMI licenses from the BSP. The think tank has requested the BSP to review existing entities with these licenses. 

In July 2022, the SEC also received a call to ban the operations of Binanc. In response, the Commission issued an advisory against the exchange.

In the same month, it sent its first letter against Binance to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to investigate global cryptocurrency exchange over its local promotion offers without securing proper permit. The firm answered this query stating that it “is looking to secure the VASP and EMI licenses. We are continuously engaging in discussions with regulators and stakeholders within the country.”

This article is published on BitPinas: Community Reacts: Infrawatch vs Binance and Coinbase

Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.