Business 18 December 2018

Jasmine Solana

2 crypto investment projects face 90-day suspension in Italy

For precautionary reasons, Italian securities regulator Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) has suspended two projects that were reportedly offering fraudulent crypto investment schemes in the country.

Effective Dec. 12, Bitsurge Token and Green Energy Certificates have been banned from offering their crypto investment products, according to two CONSOB resolutions. The firms were projects of a non-EU company called Avalon Life.

Bitsurge reportedly offered Italian investors “the opportunity [to invest] without having previous knowledge to participate in the main areas of blockchain technology.” The project has “token contracts,” which promise 6-13% monthly returns in exchange for $1,000 to $25,000 capital.

The Bitsurge Token supposedly allows investors to participate in the firm’s initiates, which include an ATM shop, mining opportunities, artificial intelligence arbitrage, coin trading, and crypto risk capital, among others. The only catch is that customers do not have autonomy in the management of their tokens.

The second scheme, called Green Earth Certificates, is also promoted via a Facebook page and offered “Green Earth Certificates” that will be used “to protect the rainforests from deforestation (through the purchase of forest areas through the blockchain)” in countries like Costa Rica.

The certificates, according to CONSOB, are capable of generating a 6% per annum reward—spread every month at 0.5%. The rainforest areas can be bought a $2 per square meter to be paid in crypto, the Green Earth Facebook post noted.

The two projects can lodge their appeal before the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio within 60 days from the date of communication, according to CONSOB.

Monday’s announcement is the latest in the series of crypto-related suspension in Italy. In November, the CONSOB ordered three cryptocurrency startups—Richmond Investing, Crypton Ltd., Eagle Bit Trade—to shut down after it found that they have been providing unauthorized cryptocurrency investment services in the country.

More recently, the Italian securities regulator issued a cease and desist order to SolutionsCM Ltd. over an alleged breach of Italian securities laws. The warning was backed in a joint statement by the regulator in Malta, the Malta Financial Services Authority, where originalcrypto.com has previously falsely claimed to have been regulated.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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