The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) clarifies that it has not issued any license to the persons and group behind the cryptocurrency Ploutos Coin and has requested the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the unauthorized use of its name.
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Freedom Traders Club, led by a certain Mark Freeman, has been circulating a photo with CEZA Secretary Raul Lambino on social media. The posts implied that they have “met” the secretary and that they are working out with the government corporation.
CEZA did not identify the alleged “photo” being circulated, but BitPinas found the following pictures on social media where it is not clear whether there was a meeting or it was a photo op:
Many Ploutos Coin posts on Facebook called the CEZA and Mark Freeman “meeting” as their coin/company’s “comeback” after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) advised the public against investing in the said coin.
Mr. Freeman has applied for an offshore license
An investigation by CEZA has revealed that Mr. Freeman has applied for an Offshore Virtual Currency Exchange (OVCE) license.
The application for this license involves a rigorous background and security check by CEZA, including research on the individuals who have applied. The government corporation has begun a probity check on Ploutos HK and the activities of Freedom Traders Club in the Philippines.
SEC’s Previous Advisory
On July 12, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued an advisory against Freedom Traders Club’s unauthorized selling of the cryptocurrency called Ploutos Coin. Under SEC’s existing rules, any cryptocurrencies sold and marketed in the Philippines are classified as securities. Therefore, it must be registered first before being sold to the public. Ploutos Coin has satisfied the following to be classified as a security:
- An investment of money is involved.
- A common enterprise (Freedom Traders Club) is selling it.
- Investors are told that the coin will appreciate in value.
- Profit is due primarily because of the effort from others.
CEZA said in a statement that it is “ready to reject any application found to be engaged in fraudulent or illegal transactions”. The government body said it has a zero-tolerance policy against individuals, companies, and groups who will use its name to defraud. Sec. Lambino said that they are ready to cancel licenses and initiate a legal action against them.
Why Ploutos Won’t Have an Offshore License?
Furthermore, the Offshore Virtual Currency License cannot be obtained by any Filipino, Filipino company, or PH resident because it is meant for foreign companies that want to establish back offices and operations in the economic zone to serve non-Philippine residents. Even if these companies plan to launch initial coin offerings, they won’t be able to offer it in the Philippines. CEZA further said in an earlier report that they will be limiting the IPs of PH residents so that they won’t be able to participate in such ICOs.