Philippine SEC Demands Removal of Binance App from AppStore and Google Play Amid Regulatory Crackdown

Philippine SEC Demands Removal of Binance App from AppStore and Google Play Amid Regulatory Crackdown
Photo by Sam Balye / Unsplash

In a significant move against unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines has officially requested tech giants Apple and Google to remove the Binance app from their mobile platforms. This directive is part of a broader regulatory crackdown on unauthorized crypto activities in the country.

The SEC's decision to target Binance, a leading global cryptocurrency exchange, stems from concerns over the protection of Filipino investors. According to SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino, unrestricted access to such platforms poses a serious risk to the funds of local investors. The SEC believes that by blocking these applications, they can significantly curb the illegal activities associated with unregistered exchanges.

Details from the SEC's communication to Apple and Google reveal that the regulator has identified Binance as operating as an unregistered broker within the Philippines. This action follows an earlier initiative in March 2024, when the SEC announced that access to unlicensed crypto exchanges would be blocked in the country. By the end of March, the SEC was considering a complete ban on Binance’s operations, as the platform had not completed the necessary registration process.

In response to these regulatory measures, the SEC has advised Filipino users of Binance to transfer their funds to cryptocurrency wallets or accounts with registered service providers to ensure their investments remain protected under local laws.

As of now, Binance has not publicly commented on the SEC's actions. Official releases from the SEC dated April 19, 2024, confirm that the letters to Apple and Google were sent, but it remains unclear whether the app is still accessible to Filipino users.

This move by the Philippine SEC is part of a broader trend in Southeast Asia, where authorities are tightening regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges. Similar actions are being considered by authorities in Thailand against unauthorized crypto service providers, reflecting a growing regional commitment to ensuring the safety and legality of digital asset markets.