MANILA – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public against investing in BitdefiHub Advertising, which has been promising to double an investor’s money within 10 days.

In an advisory dated Oct. 18, the commission flagged the public offering of BitdefiHub without securing the necessary registration from the SEC, and the corresponding order of registration of securities and certificate of permit to offer and sell securities.

BitdefiHub has been enticing the public to invest a minimum of PHP300 in exchange for 20 percent in earnings daily, according to announcements on its Facebook page.

Investors who park their money within a span of 10 days stand to double their profits through the Bitdefi platform.

For instance, investors who deposit PHP500 are promised earnings worth PHP100 per day and PHP1,000 after 10 days. An investment of PHP3 million will also yield PHP600,000 in a day, and could be doubled to PHP6 million after 10 days.

In addition, investors could earn a referral bonus of 25 percent and a registration bonus of PHP50. Investments are coursed through fintech payment platform, GCash.

The scheme involves the sale and offer of securities to the public in the form of investment contracts, whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits primarily from the efforts of others, according to the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD).

Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code (SRC), provides that securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC.

Records show that BitdefiHub’s owner, Mark Guevarra Mercado, has been conferred a certificate of business name registration by the Department of Trade and Industry.

However, it is not registered as a corporation or partnership with the commission. Accordingly, it cannot apply for the necessary license that would authorize it to solicit investments from the public.

The group is likewise not registered as a crowdfunding intermediary or funding portal, in accordance with SEC Memorandum Circular No. 14, Series of 2019 or the Rules and Regulations Governing Crowdfunding.

“In view thereof, the public is advised not to invest or stop investing in any investment scheme being offered by BITDEFI and exercise caution in dealing with any individuals or group of persons soliciting investments or recruiting investors for and on behalf of BITDEFI,” the EIPD said.

The EIPD added those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents or claim to act, as such on behalf of BitdefiHub in selling or convincing people to invest, may be prosecuted and held criminally liable under Section 28 of the SRC, and penalized with a maximum fine of PHP5 million or penalty of 21 years of imprisonment or both pursuant to Section 73 of the SRC. (PR)