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[Update] MiTrade and OctaFX Blocked: NTC Implements SEC Directive To Block Unlicensed Platforms

Photo for the Article - [Update] MiTrade and OctaFX Blocked: NTC Implements SEC Directive To Block Unlicensed Platforms

Update March 8, 2024

  • 10:00am – Binance Ban Only Delayed — SEC Chairman
  • 1:00pm – SEC it has also secured the blocking of the influencer-promoted OctaFX in a press release sent to BitPinas.
    • OctaFX is now blocked on Globe IP.
    • Upon checking, the website is still accessible on PLDT but also redirecting to another website: https://www.octaasia.com/

SEC Press Release on OctaFX Website Blocking

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered all internet service providers to immediately block the website of OctaFX for the protection of the investing public, as requested by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

(Read more: SEC Exposes OCTAFX/OCTA TRADING’s Unauthorized Investment Activities in the Philippines)

In a memorandum dated February 29, the NTC endorsed the request of the SEC for the blocking of the websites and apps of OctaFX for violations of the Securities Regulation Code, Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, and regulations enforced by the SEC.

Photo for the Article - [Update] MiTrade and OctaFX Blocked: NTC Implements SEC Directive To Block Unlicensed Platforms

In a letter dated February 27, the SEC requested for the blocking of the website of OctaFX “in order to prevent the further proliferation of its illegal activities in the country, and to protect the investing public from its detrimental effects on our economy.”

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“The public’s continued access to these websites/apps poses a threat to the security of the funds of investing Filipinos,” the SEC noted in its request. “The sale or offer of unregistered securities to Filipinos constitutes a violation of [Sections] 8 and 12 (sale of unregistered securities) and [Section] 28 (operating as an unregistered broker) of the Securities Regulation Code.”

The request followed an advisory issued by the SEC against OctaFX, also known as Octa Trading, in September 2023.

On its website, OctaFX offered the trading of over 300 financial instruments from a wide range of asset classes such as foreign currency pairs, foreign shares, index funds, and commodity derivatives. It also allowed leverage trading for a maximum leverage ratio of 1:500.

The operators of OctaFX appeared to be registered brokers and dealers oversees, and the securities and investments being offered likewise appeared to be registered in various countries.

In the Philippines, however, the Securities Regulation Code requires the prior registration with the SEC of any securities for public offering within the Philippines.  This involves the filing of an application for registration and providing detailed information about the securities, including the issue price, use of proceeds of the sale, and nature of the securities.

The Securities Regulation Code further requires that the corporation issuing such securities must secure from the SEC a license to sell or offer securities to the public. Agents of the issuers must likewise register with the SEC.  

The operator of OctaFX was not registered as a corporation in the Philippines, and operated without the necessary license to sell or offer any form of securities, to engage in the business of buying or selling securities, to operate as a broker or dealer, or to create or operate an exchange in the country.

Accordingly, the SEC advised the public to exercise caution before investing through OctaFX. It also warned those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents, representatives, promoters, recruiters, influencers, endorsers and enables of OctaFX that they may be held criminally liable under the Securities Regulation Code and penalized with a maximum fine of P5 million and/or imprisonment of up to 21 years.  

Original article follows (March 7, 2024):

Below is the entire copy of the press release sent to BitPinas by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Note that if you do not see this in the SEC website, that is because it was first sent to members of the media. (The press release is usually uploaded to the SEC website 1 day after it was sent to the media.)

This comes in the heels of the supposed ban of unlicensed exchanges like Binance and OctaFX in the Philippines.

It should be remembered that in a December 2023 panel discussion, then-Commissioner Kelvin Lee has specifically mentioned the following exchanges: Binance, OctaFX, and MiTrade as candidates for the blocking.

The https://www.mitrade.com website is no longer accessible on Globe IP checked by BitPinas. It remains accessible on other IPs.

https://www.octafx.com/ is not accessible on Globe IP but not https://www.octaasia.com/.

Binance is still accessible.

Photo for the Article - [Update] MiTrade and OctaFX Blocked: NTC Implements SEC Directive To Block Unlicensed Platforms

NTC Initiates Blocking of Unlicensed Sites

Full press release below:

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has initiated the blocking of websites and apps offering investment opportunities without the necessary license, upon the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

On February 21, the NTC issued a memorandum to all internet service providers, directing them to immediately block the websites and apps of MiTrade for violations of the Securities Regulation Code, Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, and regulations enforced by the SEC.

“We thank the NTC for supporting our campaign against investment scams and other predatory financial schemes toward the protection of the investing public.” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.

“The directive of the NTC will greatly help in preventing the proliferation of investment scams. The SEC and NTC will continue to work closely together to take similar actions on other platforms facilitating illegal investment-taking activities and other predatory financial schemes.”

Photo for the Article - [Update] MiTrade and OctaFX Blocked: NTC Implements SEC Directive To Block Unlicensed Platforms
Photo for the Article - [Update] MiTrade and OctaFX Blocked: NTC Implements SEC Directive To Block Unlicensed Platforms

SEC Request to NTC

In a letter dated February 14, the SEC requested for the blocking of MiTrade’s website after the Commission found that the entity was actively employing promotional campaigns on various social media platforms to attract and entice Filipinos to engage in investment and trading activities using its platforms.

What is MiTrade

MiTrade offered the trading of financial instruments from a wide range of asset classes such as foreign currency pairs, foreign shares, index funds, and commodity derivatives.

The operators of MiTrade appeared to be registered brokers and dealers oversees, and the securities and investments being offered likewise appeared to be registered in various countries.

In the Philippines, however, the Securities Regulation Code requires the prior registration with the SEC of any securities for public offering within the Philippines.  This involves the filing of an application for registration and providing detailed information about the securities, including the issue price, use of proceeds of the sale, and nature of the securities.

Securities Regulation Code

The Securities Regulation Code further requires that the corporation issuing such securities must secure from the SEC a license to sell or offer securities to the public. Agents of the issuers must likewise register with the SEC.  

The operator of MiTrade was not registered as a corporation in the Philippines, and operated without the necessary license to sell or offer any form of securities, to engage in the business of buying or selling securities, to operate as a broker or dealer, or to create or operate an exchange in the country.

In this light, the SEC in September 2023 issued an advisory warning the public against transacting on MiTrade.

The Commission also warned those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents, representatives, promoters, recruiters, influencers, endorsers and enables of MiTrade that they may be held criminally liable under the Securities Regulation Code and penalized with a maximum fine of P5 million and/or imprisonment of up to 21 years.  

This article is published on BitPinas: NTC Orders Blocking of Unlicensed Investment Platform, Beginning With Miitrade

Disclaimer:

  • Before investing in any cryptocurrency, it is essential that you carry out your own due diligence and seek appropriate professional advice about your specific position before making any financial decisions.
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2 Comments

  1. I don’t use it, but https:// www. mitrade. com/ can still be accessed directly on my end. Just checked.

    I’m in the Philippines.

    1. As mentioned above, it is only blocked by Globe. As of yesterday, only Globe has followed the NTC memorandum. Accessible pa siya sa PLDT as of yesterday.

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