SEC Warns Public Against BitDefi Hub

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The Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (SEC-EIPD) issued an advisory against BITDEFI HUB / BITDEFIHUB ADVERTISING, commonly known as BitDefi, owned and operated by a certain Mark Guevarra Mercado, or Mark Merca on his Facebook account.

Screenshot from SEC Advisory.

The Commission shared that it discovered BITDEFI enticing the public to invest their money in exchange for huge profits, where a minimum investment amounting to ₱300 will earn 20% daily for 10 days and a 25% Direct Referral Bonus.

In addition, interested investors are required to register using the BitDefi platform to be able to participate, and to complete the process, investors should deposit their cash investment through GCash or by transferring USDT stablecoin.

Then, once an investor successfully deposits the investment, a ₱50 Registration Bonus will be credited to the investor’s dashboard.

“For the information of all concerned, the scheme of BITDEFI involves the offering and sale of securities in the form of investment contracts to the public as investors need not exert any effort other than to invest or place monies in BITDEFI in order to generate income,” the SEC stressed.

Where according to the regulatory agency, the sale of securities in the form of an investment contract is required to be registered with the SEC as stated in the Securities Regulation   Code (SRC), where corporations like BitDefi must have the appropriate registration or license to sell securities to the public.

With this, the SEC emphasized that BITDEFI HUB / BITDEFIHUB ADVERTISING is not registered as a corporation or partnership and is not authorized to solicit investments from the public.

BitDefi is also said to be an unregistered entity as neither a crowdfunding intermediary nor a funding portal under EC Memorandum Circular No. 14, Series of 2019, or the Rules and Regulations Governing Crowdfunding.

However, the Commission clarified that BitDefi Advertising has secured a Certificate of Business Name Registration by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) under BNN  4212784, issued to Mark Guevarra Mercado on October 5, 2022, and is valid until October 5, 2022.

But despite this clarification, the Commission asserted that BitDefi’s operation is still illegal because the entity is not registered with the regulatory agency.

Thus, the SEC also warned all the individuals who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers, or agents, that represent on behalf of BitDefi in selling the entity’s products and scheme that they may be prosecuted and held criminally liable under Section 28 of the SRC and penalized with a maximum fine of ₱5,000,000.00 or penalty of Twenty-one 21 years of imprisonment or both pursuant to Section 73 of the SRC.

“Consequently, the Commission warns all unscrupulous individuals and/or entities that strict penalties are imposed for violations of the Securities Regulation Code, the Revised Corporation Code  of  the  Philippines, and  such  other  rules  and  regulation enforced by the Commission.”

In addition, the Commission also shared that the names of all those involved will be reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) so that the appropriate penalties and taxes be correspondingly assessed.

“In view thereof, the public is advised NOT TO INVEST or STOP INVESTING in any investment scheme being offered by BITDEFI and exercise caution in dealing with any individuals or group of persons soliciting investments or recruiting investors for and on behalf of BITDEFI,” SEC concluded.

As of writing, the BitDefiHub Facebook Group, where the Commission gathered some of the information bout the entitiy, has 548 members and was four-weeks old.

This article is published on BitPinas: SEC Warns Public Against BitDefi Hub

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