Beware of scams using bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, SEC warns

Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2018 05:39 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2018 10:09 AM

MANILA - Philippine securities regulators on Monday warned against the rising number of scams using bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that since October last year, it took action on 4 bitcoin or cryptocurrency-related organizations or transactions. 

These include Joseph Calata's KROPS initial coin offering, a Ponzi-scheme-type operation called Secret2Success, and two online marketing outfits (Pluggle Inc and ALifelong) that pay recruits in bitcoins or cryptocurrencies.

"It is alarming now because it is all done on-line. There is no office where we can go to and ask for clarification," said SEC Enforcement Director Jose Aquino. 

"The complainants who come to us, they say they give money to these groups just by depositing in the bank. These individuals are leveraging technology to take your money."

Aquino, however, also said they have been careful about releasing advisories on such operations because they don't want to appear opposed to new developments like fintech or financial technology .

The SEC said it is drawing up rules for cryptocurrencies and hopes to release these within the year, through the help of other regulators from the US and Australia, as well as coin exchanges registered with the BSP.