THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it plans to release the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency assets and trading by the latter part of the year.

“We have to come up with (a framework); we will issue it by the second half of this year,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino told reporters last week, referring to the timeline for the release of crypto asset guidelines.

The guidelines aim to regulate cryptocurrency trading in the country with the primary goal of safeguarding the interests of investors.

Mr. Aquino made this statement as the SEC intensified its crackdown on unregistered trading platforms.

On April 19, the commission requested the removal of Binance applications from the app markets of Apple and Google in the Philippines.

Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of daily trading volume.

Mr. Aquino noted that Apple and Google typically respond quickly to app blocking requests.

“I hope it’s fast. We already experienced this with lending apps before. The response is quick. It’s up to them (Google and Apple),” he said.

On the SEC’s move against Binance, Mr. Aquino said that the regulator is just “doing its job.”

“I know there are still some investors who we are not even stopping because they’re going to it via virtual private networks. They still can. But nobody gets to blame us. Maybe others might say that we didn’t do anything to stop these apps,” he said.

He reiterated that trading platforms should obtain the necessary licenses and registration before establishing an exchange for the buying and selling of securities, as mandated by Republic Act No. 8799, also known as the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).

“They have to secure the required licenses because the intention is to be able to run after them to exact their obligations. That is just where we are coming from. We’re not singling out any of these platforms. That’s our direction,” he said.

Mr. Aquino added that the SEC has learned from the collapse of the Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX in November 2022.

“It is different for us. Our laws just say that the sale and offering of securities made within the Philippines… That is the only capability we have. We cannot run after people outside,” he said.

“We have learned from the experience of what happened to FTX. Many Americans were ‘burned’ there. But what’s good about it is that they have the long-arm statute. If you make an offering to an American anywhere in the world, they can pursue legal action against you,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave