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Gatchalian Cautions Public: Crypto a ‘Glorified’ Casino

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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday

With cryptocurrency garnering further attention and continuous adoption in the Philippines, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Francis Tolentino have reminded the public to be cautious with the currently increasing investment opportunities emerging in the country, as fraudulent offers are also trying to utilize the trend.

Gatchalian, who is also the chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, stressed that investors must first understand the kind of business that they will engage in before placing money, emphasizing that cryptocurrency has a lot of danger because it is in the nature of gambling.

“Ang basic philosophy ko sa crypto kung hindi n’yo naintindihan, ‘wag n’yong pasukan. Ang crypto kasi is a glorified casino, walang kaibahan yan sa casino, pina-fancy lang nila, crypto, nagma-mine ng coins, pero at the end of the day, it’s a glorified casino,” the lawmaker pointed out in an interview.

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[“My basic philosophy regarding crypto is that when an investor does not understand its nature, then do not engage. Crypto is just a glorified casino, it is no different from casinos. They just made it fancy by mining coins but at the end of the day, it’s a glorified casino.”]

[Note: Check out the list of cryptocurrency exchanges licensed to operate by the BSP here.]

Moreover, Gatchalian also reminded them about the incident with FTX last month

“Kaya yung nangyari sa Amerika yung FTX, very simple lang ang nangyari. Kinuha ang pondo ng kliyente, inilagay sa bad investment, so yun ang nangyari sa FTX,” he added.

[“Take what happened in America with the FTX, it’s very simple. They took the money of the client and put it into a bad investment.”]

He also emphasized that an investor placing money in a vague business opportunity cannot guarantee a profit, adding that cryptocurrency is not properly regulated in the country.

Accordingly, Gatchalian urged the financial regulators in the country, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), to actively do their role in guarding the public’s interest. Although it can be remembered that since September, these two regulators have been asking the legislature to draft specified laws to properly regulate digital assets. 

During the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies, the central bank asked the senators to draw lines on the regulations on digital assets and the digital space—the BSP wanted the passage of the Digital Assets Act. (Read more: BSP Seeks Passage of Digital Asset Law

The SEC, on the other hand, wanted to be a more efficient regulator and not only be able to shut down investment scams that are considered investment solicitations that violate the Securities Regulation Code. The Commission insisted that they do not have the appropriate power to control other cybercrimes that involve digital assets and that a specific regulation will give them the jurisdiction and appropriate powers. (Read more: SEC: Law Focusing on Digital Assets Needed)

Accordingly, Senate Minority Leader Pimentel seconded Gathalian’s motion and stated that people putting their money in cryptocurrency face a lot of risks.

“Dapat self restraint na ang gamitin natin. Alam naman natin na hindi tunay at legal na pera ang cryptocurrency, so why should we risk our hard earned savings in this make believe products?” Pimentel explained.

[“Investors must practice self-restraint. They should know that cryptocurrency is not legit and legal money. Why should we risk our hard-earned savings in these make-believe products?”]

Further, Tolentino supported BSP’s immediate action against groups offering fraudulent cryptocurrency investment opportunities, given that “peer-to-peer transactions” are difficult to police. According to him, people must only invest in known cryptocurrency sites that can be validated through their industry links.

“Piliin mo siguro yung top 20 o kahit hanggang top 30 kung nasa rankings ng crypto currency. So yung mga bago pa lang, nakakatakot yon. Piliin mo yung may katagalan na. Piliin mo yung ginagamit na sa iba’t ibang uri ng transaksyon, at piliin mo rin yung backed up by big industries,” Tolentino advised.

[“People should choose only cryptocurrency from the top 20 or even 30 of the rankings. Risking investments in new cryptocurrencies is scary; choose those that are already here in the industry for a long time. Choose crypto already used in different transactions and backed by big industries.”]

Consequently, the Philippine National Police – Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) also advised the public to be cautious when dealing with investment offers, especially those leveraging the increasing popularity of crypto as a way of making easy money and noted that those schemes are likely to be more active in the holiday season. (Read more: PNP Tells Public: Be Cautious in Fake Crypto Investments as Holiday Season Gets Nearer)

In addition, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla repeated his sentiment about the said digital assets and reminded the public about the risks of blindly investing in cryptocurrency. (Read more: BSP Governor Medalla Reiterates: Crypto is Risky)

This article is published by BitPinas: Gatchalian Warns Public: Crypto Just a ‘Glorified’ Casino

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.