The Securities and Exchange Commission Philippines (SEC) has ordered a cease and desist order on Forsage and Forsage Philippines, stopping the platforms to solicit investments from the public into its crowdfunding platform involved in the Ethereum blockchain technology.
Based on the cease and desist issued order by the commission last September 17, Forsage should stop selling investment agreements and cease its internet presence until the requisite permits are duly issued.
Furthermore, Forsage should refrain from doing any business transactions involving “funds in its depository banks, and from transferring, disposing, or conveying in any manner all related assets to ensure the preservation of the assets of the investors”.
The order covers Forsage and its operators, representatives, salesmen, and agents, including Rich Alex Apuntar, Vhellpoe Forlares Garves, Yuka Kuroyanagi, Christopher Doroliat, Iam Kim, Jairra Fab Teoxon, Mark Nicole Escabarte Valerio, Myra Cris Sapar, Romnick Melañez, and Vel Cabalza.
Under the Forsage system, there are two commission programs or cycle tiers, namely Forsage X3 and Forsage X4, that promise payouts to investors. The programs require a minimum investment of 0.05 ETH, equivalent to about PHP 600, and allow a maximum investment of 51.2 ETH, equivalent to about PHP 600,000. Moreover, the Forsage X3 and X4 programs have 12 income slots each that an investor may initiate, with each slot having continuous referral incomes, indicating limitless income potential for investors. According to the said platform, income through “spillovers” overflows to the downline coming from its upline’s referrals.
The SEC further elaborated that the scheme covers the offer of securities to the people in the form of investment contracts, inviting a person to invest his money in a common enterprise leading to expect profits from others. As discussed on Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code, 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.
Furthermore, Forsage is not registered as a corporation, nor has been issued a secondary license to operate as a broker-dealer of securities or issuer of any securities or of mutual funds. It is also not qualified to operate as a crowdfunding entity in the Philippines as it must be duly organized under Philippine laws or must be a Filipino natural person, based on SEC Memorandum Circular No. 14, Series of 2019. The said platform is also not registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), requiring all entities engaged in virtual currencies in the country to get a Certificate of Registration to operate as a remittance and transfer company.
Previously, SEC warned the public on Forsage and other unauthorized investments surrounding cryptocurrency trading and online selling.
However, as stated by the SEC, Forsage still continued to solicit investments from people and also attempted to depreciate the SEC by spreading false or misleading information that the platform is outside the Commission’s jurisdiction.