International Finance

Amid legal headwinds in the United States, Binance now faces heat in Philippines


Amid the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance facing new legal developments in the United States, the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission has now initiated steps to ban access to the portal.

The move, as per Reuters, comes as a response to Binance’s non-compliance with local corporate and financial regulations in the Philippines.

The Southeast Asian country’s decision was influenced by the revelation that Binance was operating in the Philippines without being a registered corporation.

“Moreover, the exchange lacked the necessary licence and authority to sell or offer securities in the country. This lack of compliance has prompted the SEC to take stringent measures to protect Filipino investors and maintain the integrity of the local financial market,” Reuters reported further.

The Binance ban in the Philippines will be implemented by February 2024, as the grace period given by the SEC now aims to provide Filipino users with ample time to withdraw their investments from the crypto exchange.

Stepping up against the crypto exchange further, the Filipino SEC has reached out to tech giants like Google and Meta, while requesting them to prohibit online advertisements promoting Binance in the Philippines. Also, individuals selling through or persuading others to invest in Binance might face criminal charges in the Southeast Asian nation.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stepped down from his position in November 2023 after pleading guilty to charges related to the failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program at the crypto exchange, thereby raising concerns about the exchange’s adherence to global financial regulations and its impact on investors worldwide.

Changpeng Zhao has also resigned as a chairman of the Binance.US board of directors. He has transferred his voting rights through a proxy. Zhao, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges imposed by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ), will have to pay a USD 4.3 billion fine.

Binance.US, while talking about Changpeng Zhao’s exit, said, “Binance.US continues to be led by Norman Reed and our existing, experienced management team. We are well capitalised to continue to build and grow our platform and to do so with renewed clarity and momentum while maintaining the same customer-first commitment.”

The Joe Biden government is now investigating whether Binance.US had a backdoor to control customer assets like the bankrupt fraud-ridden crypto exchange FTX.

Binance will also cease support for the BUSD stablecoin by December 15, 2023. The crypto exchange has now advised its users to withdraw/convert any BUSD holdings into alternative cryptocurrencies. It also pitched the conversion to its own FDUSD stablecoin as an option at a 1:1 ratio with no trading fees.

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