Infrawatch Reports Binance to BSP for Unlicensed Operations Amid Crypto to Bank Feature, Community Meetups
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- Infrawatch PH, a policy think tank group, has written to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) about the unauthorized activities of Binance in the Philippines, citing its crypto-to-fiat announcement and community meetup in Cebu, which was organized by Binance Academy.
- Infrawatch PH is asking the BSP to issue a warning similar to the one issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last year, as Binance is operating in the country without the proper license.
- This is not the first time Infrawatch has written to government agencies about Binance’s activities. Despite this, Binance has formed partnerships with government, educational, and private organizations in the Philippines, including collaborations with the DICT – Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC) while Binance Academy partnered with educational technology platform Edukasyon.ph.
Four months after its last letter to the authorities, Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon has again written to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla on February 6, 2023, about the activities of Binance in the country. The letter’s goal is to report the recent unauthorized activities of the “unregistered and unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange operating in the Philippines.”
The policy think tank group first mentioned that one of the violations committed by Binance is that its crypto-to-fiat conversion service is available in eight countries, including the Philippines.
The exchange giant’s announcement on Twitter about this feature is now deleted and some comments received by BitPinas on Facebook and on its website reveal the option to be not available.
BitPinas is one of the news agencies that reported the said feature of Binance, which is also used by Infrawatch as its source of information.
“It is our most respectful position that this new feature by an unregistered and unregulated cryptocurrency exchange—the conversion of virtual asset to fiat—one of the authorized activities granted to registered VASPs under BSP Circular 1108. Since Binance is not a BSP-registered VASP, and is not even a registered entity in the Philippines based on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s August 2022 warning to the public, it has no business offering this feature to Binance users in the Philippines,” the letter read.
According to the Convenor, they are currently requesting the Central Bank to issue a similar warning issued by the SEC last year, as Binance is operating in the country without the appropriate license:
“This warning is critical in the face of continuing public concerns relating to cryptocurrency exchanges which had defrauded billions of dollars from countless users and investors, such as the most recent controversy surrounding fraud allegations against FTX and its former Chief Executive Officer Sam Bankman-Fried. It is our position that proactive action by the BSP is critical to revive public confidence in the country’s emerging VASP sector, particularly because it is the BSP itself that regulates this sector.”
Moreover, another thing that the exchange has violated, as per Infrawatch, is its community meetups. It is because “through these community meet-ups, Binance is promoting an unregistered and unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange in the Philippines.” The think tank cited the very recent meetup in Cebu organized with Binance Academy.
“It is thus our prayer that the BSP undertakes measures to stop unauthorized operations of Binance and other unregistered cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, to ensure that the public and their investments are protected,” Ridon concluded.
This is not the first time that Infrawatch has sent letters to different government agencies. Binance has since forged partnerships with different government, educational, and private organizations in the Philippines.
- Binance joined the Cybercrime seminar with the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC)
- Binance Academy announced its collaboration with management college students of Enderun Colleges to further boost web3 education in the Philippines.
- General Manager Kenneth Stern is one of the panelists during the Global Blockchain Summit in Balanga City, Bataan organized by DICT.
- Binance Academy joined forces with the educational technology platform Edukasyon.ph to introduce a scholarship program for web3 education in the Philippines.
Here is the timeline of local events in which Infrawatch and Binance were involved since last year:
- (June 8) CZ visited the Philippines and talked to PH Media re: Binance expansion.
- (June 8) CZ said they intend to obtain a local crypto license.
- (June 9) Then Finance Secretary Dominguez said Binance is not yet registered and they are monitoring it.
- (June 10) Binance Scholarship for Filipinos.
- (June 15) Infrawatch PH sent a letter to the BSP asking it to ban and suspend the exchange for illegally operating here.
- (June 16) Binance responds: “We are open to discussions”.
- (June 16) Binance is hiring 2,000 more people.
- (July 7) Infrawatch Letter to DTI.
- (July 7) Binance Answers New Infrawatch Letter.
- (July 11) DTI Responds.
- (July 26) Infrawatch sends letter to SEC.
- (August 4) SEC responds, cautioning the public not to invest with Binance.
- (August 9) Binance says acquiring license is a priority
- (September 20) Binance is targeting to acquire a PH Firm to secure VASP License.
- (September 28) Infrawatch PH asks BSP if the backdoor acquisition of the VASP License, which Binance is currently doing, is allowed.
- (September 30) Binance joined the Cybercrime seminar with the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC)
- (October 12) Binance came out as one of the most trusted fintech platforms in the country, according to the recent results of the Special Industry Report on FinTech in the Philippines by the polling and data analytics firm WR Numero Research (WRN).
- (October 15) Binance Academy announced its collaboration with management college students of Enderun Colleges to further boost web3 education in the Philippines.
- (October 17) CZ is back in the Philippines.
- (October 18) Binance is reportedly going to forge a partnership with the local government unit of Bataan to spearhead the blockchain initiatives within the province, according to Bataan Governor Joet Garcia.
- (October 18) Binance Philippines General Manager Kenneth Stern is one of the panelists during the “Perspectives: Collecting Crypto Art” panel discussion hosted by the art gallery in partnership with Binance and Palladium
- (November 22) Stern is also one of the panelists during the Global Blockchain Summit in Balanga City, Bataan.
- (November 25) Stern emphasized how blockchain can help ease OFW remittances.
- (December 15) Stern has spoken to over 400 students at the Lyceum University of the Philippines about “MONEY WISE: Breaking Barriers in Bitcoin.”
- (January 25) Binance has enabled a feature that allows users in the Philippines to transfer their cryptocurrency holdings directly to their bank account.
- (January 25) Stern highlighted the potential of Cebu as the future techno hub in the country during the Binance Meetup Cebu.
- (February 6) Binance has launched a tax reporting tool called “Binance Tax” to help users calculate their tax obligations on crypto transactions.
- (February 7) Binance Academy joined forces with the educational technology platform Edukasyon.ph to introduce a scholarship program for web3 education in the Philippines.
This article is published on BitPinas: Infrawatch Reports Binance to BSP for Unlicensed Operations Amid Crypto to Bank Feature, Community Meetups
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