The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered both Google and Apple to remove the Binance app from their respective app stores for users in the Philippines. 

According to a press release from the SEC on April 23, it is working with the Big Tech companies on the removal of “applications operated by cryptocurrency giant Binance.” It said the companies received separate letters on April 19 regarding removing the apps in the local marketplaces.

“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.”

Emilio B. Aquino, chair of the SEC, said that selling or offering unregistered securities to locals and operating as an “unregistered broker” is in violation of the country’s securities regulations. 

He said that by removing Binance applications from digital app marketplaces, these companies would help “prevent the further proliferation of its illegal activities in the country,” saying that otherwise, this could have “detrimental” effects on the local economy.

This move comes shortly after the SEC and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) blocked access to Binance websites on March 25.

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The SEC has been actively warning the public against using Binance for investing since November 2023. It says the crypto exchange, which is one of the world’s largest, has yet to secure a license to solicit investments from the public nor to 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 facilitate the withdrawal of their funds from the exchange. After this period, the SEC said they “cannot endorse” any methods for retrieving funds.

The move to block Binance follows a crackdown from the SEC and the NTC on Feb. 21, through which they moved to block and ban unlicensed crypto trading platforms in the country. At that time Binance was unaffected.

Binance has been involved in other regulatory-related debacles around the world, most recently in a new class-action lawsuit in Canada on April 23, following allegations that it violated local securities laws.

However, on the flip side, the cryptocurrency exchange announced on April 18 that it would return to India after paying a $2 million fine for previous non-compliance with local regulations.

On the same day, it was reported that Binance received its crypto licence in Dubai, also known as the coveted Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP), after its co-founder Changpeng Zhao gave up his voting power in the exchange’s local entity.

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