Philippines: Policy think tank Infrawatch PH wants central bank to curb Binance’s back-door reentry
Binance should not be allowed back into the Philippines market, and its latest efforts to find a way around its ban must be thwarted, Infrawatch PH has stated. The think tank wants Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to clarify its recent memorandum in which it suspended all new license applications and stopped Binance’s efforts to skirt regulations.
The letter, which was shared with CoinGeek, asks the BSP to clarify if the decision to pause virtual assets service provider (VASP) license applications “also prohibits any and all backdoor acquisition of existing entities with VASP licenses by new market entrants.”
As CoinGeek reported, the BSP announced in August that it had put all applications on hold for the next three years. The bank acknowledged that it has to strike a delicate balance between protecting investors and promoting innovation. In the meantime, BSP is set to focus on assessing the existing VASPs’ overall performance.
Binance was among those that had yet to secure a license before the window was shut. And as it always does, it was quick to find a workaround, with the Philippines General Manager Kenneth Stern revealing a week ago that the exchange is set to acquire a licensed VASP. This would give the exchange a way back into the Southeast Asian country despite the SEC’s warning against it.
Infrawatch PH is one of the many parties concerned about Binance’s antics. If the exchange is allowed to reenter the Filipino market, this will go against “the BSP’s mandate ‘to provide an environment that encourages financial innovation while safeguarding the integrity and stability of the financial system’ and undermines the government’s risk-based approach to virtual assets transactions and service providers.”
The think tank is not just biased against Binance, the letter, which was written by convener Terry Ridon, notes. It pointed out that the exchange is the subject of investigations worldwide, from the U.S. and the U.K. to Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand.
In addition, the think tank wants the BSP to be wary of Stern, “who, unapologetically, promotes an unregistered and unlicensed business in the Philippines.”
While foiling the proposed purchase will slow Binance down, it won’t be long before it snaps up another VASP. As such, the think tank wants the BSP to determine if all 19 licensed VASPs are operational. It believes that the central bank should stipulate that upon receiving a license, a VASP must commence operations within a set amount of time or have the license suspended or revoked.