The SEC of Philippines Blocks Binance, Leaving Users Without Withdrawal Options

Binance users in the Philippines find themselves in a bind after the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered the cryptocurrency exchange platform blocked. The decision comes against a backdrop of increased regulatory scrutiny against Binance worldwide.

Philippine SEC takes action against Binance

On March 25, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines has decided to block access to Binance, leaving many users unable to withdraw their funds.

Paolo Ong, Head of the PhiliFintech Innovation Office of the SEC said in an interview that the regulator was not in a position to approve a method for users to recover their money. This follows the ban on Binance by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country.

Although the SEC has given users three months to transfer their funds to local exchanges or personal portfolios, some were unable to comply with this requirement.

Unfortunately, we cannot approve any method of withdrawing their money now that the blocking order has been issued.

Statement by Paolo Ong

Despite earlier claims by former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao regarding the platform’s intention to obtain licenses in the Philippines, Ong stressed that Binance had not submitted any formal registration application to the SEC.

The regulator has consistently warned the public against the trading on Binance, emphasizing that the platform did not have the necessary license to solicit investments in the country.

Binance’s regulatory problems pile up

The ban on Binance by the SEC in the Philippines comes against a backdrop of increasing regulatory scrutiny of the platform on a global scale. Last year, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a complaint against Binance for allegedly operating an illegal digital asset derivatives exchange.

Similarly, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Binance Holdings LTD and its former CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) for allegedly operating unregistered exchanges, brokers and clearing houses, as well as for unregistered offers and sales of securities.

November 21, 2023, Binance and CZ pleaded guilty to a series of federal charges, including anti-money laundering violations and transmitting money without a license. Following this agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, CZ resigned from his position as CEO of Binance.

Binance’s regulatory problems are not limited to the USA and the Philippines. In Nigeria, the platform has been accused of manipulating the local currency. As a result of these accusations, one of Binance’s executives is currently in custody, while another is being hunted down by Interpol in collaboration with the Nigerian authorities after his escape.