Business 22 May 2018Gerald Fenech
Canada cracks down on unlicensed cryptocurrency companies
The Canadian government, specifically the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), has decided to crack down on five companies promoting investments and trading in cryptocurrencies sans license. The crackdown on the crypto companies started after the regulator received numerous complaints from customers and would-be investors.
The OSC issued an investor alert, warning the public about BTCReal, BitSerial, Hypercube Ventures LP, CabinCoin OÜ, and BaapPay Inc., which the regulator said were involved in schemes that target investors in Ontario and encourage them to trade or invest in the cryptocurrency market.
In its alert, the OSC said the five firms “are not registered in Ontario to solicit investments or provide advice on investing in, buying or selling securities.”
“Any distribution to an Ontario resident requires a prospectus or exemption from the prospectus requirement, which Bitserial, Hypercube, CabinCoin and BaapPay do not have,” according to the OSC.
According to reports on CBC, the Commission began gathering information on the five firms after receiving numerous complaints. The station further reported that there is no licensed cryptocurrency exchange or company that has a license to trade in these currencies or is exempt from recognition. The news outlet further reported that any platform which offers cryptocurrencies that fit a definition of securities have to determine whether they can be considered as a marketplace. If so, such marketplaces are required to comply with rules governing such exchanges or alternative trading systems.
The OSC had previously issued an alert on the infamous Bitconnect scheme, stating that, “Bitconnect, the BCC Exchange and representatives of Bitconnect are not registered in Ontario to solicit investments or provide advice on investing in, buying or selling securities.”
The five firms all provide colourful descriptions of their activities that are intentional to lure investors in expecting huge short-term profits. BTCReal claims to provide full investment services for cryptocurrency-related investments and foreign exchange. They also advertise high return on investment (ROI) plans in a short period of time.
Bitserial claims to offer opportunities in BTE tokens lending out these for high returns, while Hypercube Ventures LP manages multiple websites that encourage investors to buy what are termed as emission pools, which generate ‘VNN cryptocurrency’.
Cabincoin OÜ is currently advertising an unregistered token sale for CabinCoin tokens. The company claims that these tokens will eventually exceed their initial price by large margins. Finally, Baappay claims to be a multi-layered platform which integrates both fiat and cryptocurrency payment services for merchants that will confirm and guarantee all payments in a matter of seconds, according to its website.
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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