528% Return in 240 Days, SEC Flags BitBank Crypto Scam

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One after another, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published a new advisory against an entity leveraging on the emerging popularity of cryptocurrency and virtual assets in the Philippines. 

Citing the reports received about the unauthorized investment-taking activities of BITBANKUPS.COM,  the Commission published an advisory to remind the public to be cautious when transacting with the said entity.

The reports stated that alleged scams were proliferated through the website called BITBANKUPS.COM, where investors who put up their hard-earned money were reportedly left dry by the administrators of the website as they were not able to withdraw their investments when the website closed and became inaccessible.

BITBANKUPS.COM is enticing the public to invest in their virtual currency “BBT” in their platform. BitBank advertises itself by offering a virtual asset or currency that earns from commissions and referrals.

BITBANKUPS.COM offers guaranteed profit through commissions where they expect their investors to put in initial capital of at least $100.00 to $5000.00 all in USDT or Tether2. The potential profit through the commission on this option depends on the time of the lock-in period or Commission Period.

According to BitBanks guidelines, the longer the waiting time or Commission Period, the higher the profit wherein the investor needs to do anything but wait for the lock-in period to lapse. Thus, investors are promised to earn 0.8% a day to as high as 528% in 240 days.  

Aside from the commission, the firm allows investors to have referral bonuses where they can earn extra from referrals. In addition, the investors are also promised a profit each time they have successfully recruited an individual to invest in the scheme.

Consequently, BITBANKUPS.COM also offers incentives or bonuses from logging in to their website—every time a user checks in to their website or mobile application, the users are rewarded. For this bonus, the rewards to be received increase depending on how many consecutive days the investor checks in.

Aside from its investment platform, BITBANKUPS.COM has a supposed charity system. 

“BITBANKUPS.COM also used the name “BITBANK” which is also the name of a very well-known and big cryptocurrency exchange based in Japan to apparently associate themselves with an entity of good reputation,” the SEC stated.

In a statement, the SEC revealed that the investment-taking schemes utilized by BITBANKUPS.COM are investment contracts as they involve the offering and sale of securities to the public where their investors need not exert any effort other than to invest or place money in its scheme with the reasonable expectation of profits through the efforts of others. 

Following this, the Commission reminded that corporations and other entities must be duly registered with them and that any person or entity intending to offer and sell its investment contract is required to secure the necessary registration and/or license from the Commission as provided under the Securities Regulation Code.

“However, based on the records of the Commission, BITBANKUPS.COM is NOT REGISTERED with the Commission AND OPERATES WITHOUT THE NECESSARY LICENSE AND/OR AUTHORITY to solicit, accept or take investments/placements from the public nor to issue investment contracts and other forms of securities defined under Section 3 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC),” the SEC wrote.

Accordingly, the Commission reminds the public to refrain from investing in BITBANKUPS.COM’s and “not trust entities that lack prior registration and secondary license to take investment from the public.”

Prior to this, it can be remembered that a victim of online investment platform Flint reported that the administrators of the said app are nowhere to be found and more likely scammed him. Due to this,  his investment of over 200,000 will probably remain as virtual money inside the application. (Read more: Online App Scams Man With P230k Investment )

The SEC has been actively flagging down entities for selling securities and investments without the proper license required. To read more about SEC advisories click here

Currently, there are still no specific regulations regarding digital assets in the Philippines. Last September, the SEC (as well as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)) asked the Senate to draft legislation addressing these issues and loopholes within the current regulations. According to them, the Commission does not have the power to control other cybercrimes that involve digital assets and was only able to shut down investment scams that are considered investment solicitations that violate the Securities Regulation Code. (Read more: SEC: Law Focusing on Digital Assets Needed)

Recently,  the Philippine National Police – Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) issued an advisory for the investing public to be cautious when dealing with investment offers–especially in fraudulent crypto investment offers– 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)

This article is published on BitPinas: 528% Return in 240 Days, SEC Flags BitBank Crypto Scam

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.

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