NJ regulators slap 'fraudulent' Bitstrade with cease and desist order

NJ regulators slap ‘fraudulent’ Bitstrade with cease and desist order

Cryptocurrency activities are increasingly being put under the microscope in countries around the world to protect the public. The most recent example comes by way of New Jersey, where a cryptocurrency investment platform was presented with a cease and desist order.

Investigators determined that the platform, Bitstrade, was conducting fraudulent activities, and was not licensed to offer securities in the Garden State. The order was signed by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Securities and Division of Law.

The company was found in violation of the state’s Uniform Securities Law because it was offering an unregistered security, authorities said. That security came in the way of an investment pool that was guaranteeing a return of up to 10% daily to investors. Apart from not holding a license, Bitstrade was also accused of violating the law by not disclosing key information regarding its operations.

The company hadn’t disclosed the names of its executive officers, the primary business address, its financial condition or the risks of the investment as is required by state law, according to officials. Additionally, no details regarding how the company would use investors’ money were publicized.

Investigations into Bitstrade found two addresses listed for its business. One was in Redland, Calif., and the other in Scottsdale, Ariz. The California address doesn’t exist and the Arizona address is the headquarters of an unrelated Internet domain registrar and web hosting company, authorities said.

The company’s termination comes soon after a cryptocurrency bank in Texas was forced to close. At the end of January, AriseBank was deemed to be a scam bank by state regulators and forced to head for the hills. The Texas Banking Commissioner determined that the company was in violation of Texas Finance Code Chapter 31 simply because it used the term “bank” in its name.” The company was barred from doing business in the state.

The North America Securities Administration Association conducted a survey recently to determine where regulators stood on the subject of cryptocurrencies. The association found that 94% of state and provincial securities regulators feel that there is a high risk of fraud surrounding cryptocurrencies. They also unanimously agreed that more regulation is necessary in order to protect investors.

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