Business 5 September 2018Gerald Fenech
Beware of fraud: Belgium raises red flag on 78 ‘unlawful’ crypto platforms
In a renewed crackdown on crypto and blockchain fraud, the Belgian government has published a list of cryptocurrency platforms that it said exhibited signs of fraud.
The list, posted by Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA), includes no less than 78 cryptocurrency platforms—28 of which added only on Tuesday. Although it has issued repeated warnings, the agency said it continues to receive considerable complaints from consumers with regard to these crypto firms.
FSMA said it updated the list after receiving “questions/complaints from consumers and vis-à-vis which it has identified signs of fraud.”
On its website, the FSMA stated: “Despite its earlier warnings the FSMA continues to receive new complaints of consumers who have invested in cryptocurrencies through these trading platforms. Hence, the FSMA repeats its warning against the fraudsters behind those platforms who are using cryptocurrencies to swindle consumers.”
The agency began listing the crypto trading platforms showing signs of fraud in February. According to FSMA, fraudsters often “try to attract customers online through fake cryptocurrencies and huge profits,” noting that “the only thing they actually do, however, is take the customers’ money and disappear. It is as simple as that.”
Among the new platforms added in the FSMA list included 1st-cryptobank.com, bitc-international.com, boursebitcoin.com, ccg-investment.com, crownmanagers.com, crypto.bnd-group.com, crypto-access.com, cryptofrancecapital.com, cryptorama-bank.com, cryptos-marketplace.com, cryptowallet24.com, e-cryptoney.com, and ecrypto-international.com.
Also included in the list were emarketstrade.com, executivecrypto.com, fair-oakscrypto.com, fast-coin.eu, globalmarkets-group.com, ldc-crypto-com, lgsinvestpartners.com, london-exchange.com, minedecrypto.com, mondial-investissement.com, placementcrypto.com, primecryptobank.com, truetrade-capital.com, vechain-wallet.com, and wallet-coins.com.
The Belgian financial watchdog noted that the list was based solely on the FSMA findings, in particular as a result of consumer reports. This was why the list did not include companies which might be operating unlawfully in Belgium in that sector.
According to the agency, many fraudulent platforms “claim to be active in the cryptocurrency trade.” After investing in these platforms, consumers either “never recover the funds invested” or “they simply have heard nothing further from the company after investing their money.” FSMA also noted that “some of these platforms also offer other financial products with cryptocurrencies as underlying asset,” such as “savings accounts with supposedly guaranteed returns, servicing rights or derivative products such as CFDs.”
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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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