SEC studies legal status of online money-making entities

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is studying the legal status of online investment entities such as crypto and play-to-earn gaming platforms under Philippine laws.

In a televised briefing on Friday, SEC Commissioner Kelvin K. Lee said Axie Infinity, one of the more popular play-to-earn games, is not registered as a business at the SEC.

He clarified, however, that the lack of registration does not automatically mean the game is illegal as the SEC is still studying these kinds of platforms.

“Whether or not they are legal or illegal or need to register later on, that is something we still have to determine at the SEC,” he said.

Mr. Lee said the SEC is looking to issue rules on the offering and exchange of digital assets to “stabilize the industry hopefully within the year.”

He also warned the public that such transactions entail risks if the entity one is transacting with is only foreign-registered and not registered in the Philippines.

“If [the entity is] registered in the Philippines, you have that protection of the Philippine laws,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lee said it is safe to transact only with the 88 online lending platforms registered with the SEC to avoid harassment from borrowers and other risks.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) earlier said that it was closely monitoring the growth of Axie Infinity in the Philippines.

In a statement on Sept. 5, BSP Technology Risk and Innovation Supervision Department Director Melchor T. Plabasan said the central bank would only step in and require Axie Infinity to register with it and the SEC if more merchants will accept as payment the smooth love potion or the money earned from playing the game.

If registered, the securities and monetary regulators will be able to offer more protection to Filipinos playing and investing in Axie Infinity. — Bianca Angelica D. Anago