Updated August 17, 2018: CEZA Clarifies: No License for Ploutos Coin
The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a public advisory regarding a cryptocurrency and trading group that violates the country’s laws on securities and investments.
SEC has learned that Freedom Traders Club is conducting training and seminars in Visayas and Mindanao to promote the cryptocurrency called “Ploutos Coin”, which is marketed as an investment vehicle where token holders can profit by simply holding the coin.
In an earlier public advisory, SEC has noted that coins that behave like investment instruments are classified as “securities” and specifically an “investment contract”. Ploutos Coins satisfy the following conditions to be classified as one:
- There is an investment of money involved.
- The sale of Ploutos Coins goes to a “common enterprise”, which is the “Freedom Traders Club”.
- Holders are led to expect profits.
- Profits arrive primarily from the efforts of others, not the holder.
The country requires any securities to be registered with the SEC, otherwise, the agency will find the company issuing the coins to be engaging in an illegal activity.
Anyone who acts on behalf of selling the illegal security tokens may be held criminally liable and penalized with a maximum fine of Php 5 million or 21 years of imprisonment.
Information gathered by SEC reveals the following information about Freedom Traders Club and Ploutos Coin:
- Freedom Traders Club is a forex trading club founded by Mark Freeman.
- Mark Freeman created the system to invest using Ploutos Coin.
- The price of Ploutos coin increases through supply and demand
- It is announced that Ploutos Coin’s price will “skyrocket” after 6 months.
A Ploutos Coin Grand Launching event was held on July 8, 2018 in Cagayan De Oro, Philippines.
In May 2018, a similar warning was advised by the SEC regarding a company/website called “Coin-Option.com”. The website and its representatives were enticing the public to invest in cryptocurrencies. It was classified by the SEC as an Internet-based Ponzi Scheme because they offer huge profit in short periods and utilize a binary network (upline and downline) to earn commisions. According to the advisory, the SEC will report the names of those involved with Coin-Option to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the country’s tax agency.
On January 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commision has issued a public advisory on initial coin offerings (ICO). Tokens that can be classified as securities must be registered first with the commission. SEC has stated:
When a virtual currency is likewise analogous to any of the types of securities under Section 3.1 of the SRC, there is a strong possibility that the said virtual currency is a security under the jurisdiction of the SEC and has to be registered and necessary disclosures have to be made for the protection of the investing public.
The Commission has also stopped the selling of Krop Coins, which was conducting an ICO.