3 senators caution public on crypto investments

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2022 05:05 PM

A man walks past an advertising poster for Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong, China, on September 25, 2021. Jerome Favre, EPA-EFE/file
A man walks past an advertising poster for Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies in Hong Kong, China, on September 25, 2021. Jerome Favre, EPA-EFE/file


MANILA — Three senators on Thursday cautioned the public regarding investment opportunities in the blockchain industry, specifically cryptocurrency.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, said before placing money, any individual must first understand the kind of business that he or she will engage in.

Cryptocurrency, he said, has a lot of danger because it is in the nature of gambling.

“Ang basic philosophy ko sa crypto kung hindi nyo naintindihan wag nyong pasukan. Ang crypto kasi is a glorified casino, walang kaibahan yan sa casino, pina-fancy lang nila, crypto, nagma-mine ng coins, pero at the end of the day, it's a glorified casino,” Gatchalian pointed out in an interview.

“Kaya yung nangyari sa Amerika yung FTX, very simple lang ang nangyari. Kinuha ang pondo ng kliyente, inilagay sa bad investment, so yun ang nangyari sa FTX,” he added.

An investor placing money in a vague business opportunity cannot guarantee profit, Gatchalian reminded the public.

Another danger that cryptocurrency investors in the Philippines face is that the industry is not regulated by the government, he said.

Gatchalian urged government regulators Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to actively do their role in guarding the public’s interest. 

For Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, people putting their money in cryptocurrency face a lot of risk.

“Dapat self restraint na ang gamitin natin. Alam naman natin na hindi tunay at legal na pera ang cryptocurrency, so why should we risk our hard earned savings in this make believe products?” Pimentel pointed said.

Sen. Francis Tolentino likewise echoed the call for the BSP’s immediate action against groups offering fraudulent cryptocurrency investment opportunities, given the reality that “peer-to-peer transactions” are difficult to police.

To protect one’s interest, Tolentino advised the public to invest only in known cryptocurrency sites, which can be validated through their industry links.

“Piliin mo siguro yung top 20 o kahit hanggang top 30 kung nasa rankings ng crypto currency. So yung mga bago pa lang, nakakatakot yon. Piliin mo yung may katagalan na. Piliin mo yung ginagamit na sa iba’t ibang uri ng transaksyon, at piliin mo rin yung backed up by big industries,” Tolentino said.