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The Philippines will be enforcing stricter regulatory compliance to online lending apps, and will be working with Google to ensure all advertisers comply with local laws.
At the same time, the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it is working to educate the public on legitimate investment options through investor protection and financial literacy campaigns online.
“Over the course of the pandemic, the commission has observed that several entities have taken advantage of the online space to spread investment scams supposedly engaged in cryptocurrency trading when in reality, these do not exist,” it said in an announcement this week.
The Philippines is one of the world’s fastest adopters of cryptocurrency. A recent study reported that the Philippines ranks fifth worldwide in terms of ownership, with 28% of adults saying they own cryptocurrency.
The volume of cryptocurrency transactions grew 362% year on year to nearly 20 million in the first half of 2021, worth P105.93 billion (US$2 billion), as per central bank data.
From June 7, firms advertising crypto services to Philippine users will have to provide proof they have registered with the SEC as companies and with BSP as remittance and transfer providers, Google said in an announcement.
“We believe the new policy can reduce the number of Filipinos falling prey to unregistered investment schemes online, who are usually victims of aggressive online advertising and intrusive tactics that make them believe in products that are often too good to be true,” the SEC added.
Advertisers must obtain a certificate of authority as a Money Services Business from the Philippine Central Bank (BSP). Any other local legal requirements must also be complied with, Google said.
Google has similar requirements for crypto exchanges targeting users in South Korea, UAE, Hong Kong and Thailand.