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On Monday April 16, the Philippines opposition senator Leila M. de Lima asked her fellow bureaucrats to push the passage of the cryptocurrency bills she helped frame. The proposed bills aim to introduce a harsher penalty towards criminals who use cryptocurrencies during illegal activities.
Philippines Lawmaker Wants to Speed Up Cryptocurrency Regulations
There’s been a lot going on in the Philippines as far as cryptocurrencies are concerned and lawmakers are yearning to form some laws around the industry that provides this technology to citizens. Only recently the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested a couple who were involved in a Ponzi scheme that had participants paying for investments in bitcoin. Arnel and Leonady Ordonio accumulated 1 billion Philippine Pesos ($ 1.9Mn USD) worth of bitcoins from investors. The Ordonios promised investors guaranteed 30 percent profits and some people spent $ 50,000 USD. Further, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) taking a stance against cloud mining operations just recently and the SEC believes mining contracts should be defined as securities.
Opposition senator Leila M. de Lima thinks that the legislative chamber needs to prioritize Senate Bill 1694, a proposal she filed a month ago. The recent Ordonio Ponzi scheme has compelled her to call upon her colleagues.
“I hope that this occurrence will push my esteemed colleagues in the Senate to take my proposed bill seriously and help pass it into law soon,” the senator explains.
Knowing that virtual currency resembles money, and that the possibilities in using it are endless, higher penalty for its use on illegal activities is necessary.
The Opposition Senator Believes Cryptocurrency Criminals Deserve Harsher Penalties
SB1694 would re-define the Republic Act No. 3815 or the Revised Penal Code (RPC) in order to penalize cryptocurrency criminals one degree higher than the traditional RPC.
“No matter how small or big a group, a punishment must be given. It should never be easy to escape after stealing the hard earned money of other people,” de Lima said.
The older RPC also states that “syndicated estafa and other forms of swindling shall be punishable by life imprisonment to death” if the act involves five or more individuals. De Lima’s proposal wants to lessen the guidelines of the law to two or more people involved with a syndicated crime involving cryptocurrencies.
The opposition senator also details that citizens from the Philippines should be leery of cryptocurrency investments. It’s also worth noting that senator Leila M. de Lima is a controversial figure, and is currently facing trial for profiting from the illegal narcotics trade.
What do you think about the Philippines senator who wants harsher punishments for those who use cryptocurrencies in crimes? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, AP, and Wiki Commons.
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This week China’s official press agency Xinhua news reported that nationwide public security authorities have cracked down on 107 forms of knock-off altcoins in 2017. These coins claim themselves fintech products, but are large-scale Ponzi schemes in disguise, according to the authorities.
“Zero Risk, High Returns”
As bitcoin price rallies hard, a growing number of “Fintech” altcoins join the race in the cryptocurrency industry. Zhao Shouguo, an economics professor at Northwest University in Xi’an, believes that the government’s ruling on ICOs this September has proved to be another case of “people get what they want”.
The ban on ICOs and closure of exchanges for mainstream virtual currencies created a market vacuum and gave rise to various knock-off cryptocurrencies. Scheme suspects would tell investors that mainstream cryptocurrencies are losing traction because of the ban and it’s their time to shine.
Xinhua news journalists searched the keyword “coin” on social media tools like Wechat and QQ (a popular communication tool of Tencent), only to find multiple closed altcoin groups like “HBB Environmental Protection Coin”, “Radar Coin(VBC)”, “Red Shell Coin(RSS)”. Group moderators would show newcomers snapshots of their high returns to induce them to invest. “Enroll five participants, you can get 600 yuan (90 USD), even a beggar can do this job,” a group moderator promises.
Huang Zhen, a law professor at Central University of Finance and Economics, explained that more schemes are emerging because it’s cheap and easy to duplicate an altcoin.
Obscure Cryptocurrencies Become a Trendy Fraud
As of the end of September 30, Chinese public security departments have conducted 5,900 criminal cases on Ponzi schemes that have raised more than 30 billion yuan (4.5 billion USD), among which knock-off cryptocurrencies have become a trendy fraud. Police have investigated 107 obscure cryptocurrencies including “Five Elements Coin”, “Onecoin” and “Ticcoin”. Xinhua news journalists revealed that these pyramid schemes used such new concepts as virtual currency and blockchain to confuse investors.
This January, a Chinese woman surnamed Yang invested all of her savings in “Five Elements Coin” without her husband’s knowledge. Not only that, she successfully convinced ten of her relatives to buy it. “They told me that the project is supported by the central government to promote technological innovation,” says Yang. “And they promised my investment will soon become 4 million yuan (about 606K USD).” Not surprisingly, her venture into the virtual currency market ended up being a scam. To compound her sorrow, her husband divorced her when he realized that she already spent all of their savings.
47,000 Participants and 613 Million USD in a Year
Police in Haikou, capital of Hainan Province busted a pyramid scheme called “Asia-Euro Coin”. Within a year, more than 47,000 people had been recruited to trade the fake virtual currency, with some 613 million U.S. dollars involved. The suspect surnamed Liu told investors that he is a cryptocurrency expert who has resources all over the world. And he would hold events at fancy restaurants to brainwash participants.
With the spread of mobile banking and social media platforms, ponzi schemes could quickly pull-in more investors. “As the perpetrators are often located in different parts of China and orchestrate the scams via computers and mobile phones, it’s quite difficult to detain all at once and secure the evidence,” said Ren Jian, a police officer in Haikou.
Have you ever been swindled in a scam altcoin? Leave your comments below!
Images via Shutterstock, Xinhua News.
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