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Philippine SEC orders removal of Binance from Google and Apple app stores

The removal order will only be effective for users based in the country.

Philippine SEC requests removal of Binance from Apple and Google.

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The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (PSEC) has ordered Google and Apple to remove the Binance app from their respective app stores for users in the Philippines. The SEC cites security threats to investors and the potential for detrimental effects on the local economy as the primary reasons for this decision.

In a press release dated April 23, the SEC stated that it is working with the tech giants to remove “applications operated by cryptocurrency giant Binance.” The companies received separate letters on April 19 regarding the removal of the apps from their local marketplaces.

PSEC Chair Emilio B. Aquino emphasized that selling or offering unregistered securities to locals and operating as an “unregistered broker” violates the country’s securities regulations. He added that by removing Binance applications from digital app marketplaces, these companies would help “prevent the further proliferation of its illegal activities in the country,” which could have “detrimental” effects on the local economy.

“The SEC has identified Binance and concluded that the public’s continued access to these websites/apps poses a threat to the security of the funds of investing Filipinos,” the press release stated.

Blockades and warnings

This move follows the SEC and the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) decision to block access to Binance websites on March 25. The SEC has been actively warning the public against using Binance for investing since November 2023, stating that the crypto exchange has yet to secure a license to solicit investments from the public or operate an exchange to buy and sell securities.

On April 8, following the enforcement of its official ban on Binance, an SEC official reiterated that they had already provided users with a three-month period, along with an extension to allow users to withdraw. After this period, the SEC said they “cannot endorse” any methods for retrieving funds.

The move to block Binance is part of a broader crackdown by the SEC and the NTC on unlicensed crypto trading platforms in the country, which began on Feb. 21. At that time, Binance was unaffected.

Despite regulatory challenges in the Philippines, Binance has recently made progress in other jurisdictions. The exchange announced on April 18 that it would return to India after paying a $2 million fine for previous non-compliance with local regulations. Binance received its crypto license in Dubai on the same day after its co-founder Changpeng Zhao gave up voting power in the exchange’s local entity.

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