Italy’s financial regulator, the National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange (CONSOB), has warned against three cryptocurrency companies engaged in schemes to promote cryptocurrency mining and investments. CONSOB said the companies were neither licensed nor authorized to provide the services they promised.
Cease and Desist Notice for Unlicensed Firms
On Nov. 20, the Italian regulator issued a cease and desist notice against foreign currency broker Richmond Investing, alleging it did not hold a valid license and was providing “unauthorised investment services and activities to the Italian public.” Richmond Investing promises investors high returns within a short period of time while claiming to provide integrated investment services for several assets, said CONSOB.
The unlicensed Crypton Ltd was suspended from offering its digital currency, called “crypton,” to the public for 90 days. The company claims to “provide passive income in the form of Proof-of-Stake mining that is available to all holders of the crypton coin.”
CONSOB also stopped Alessandro Brizzi from promoting the crypton token on his Facebook page, while Eagle Bit Trade was blacklisted, specifically for encouraging investors to use its “so-called trading packages” to transact in cryptocurrencies.
Eagle Bit Trade is a bitcoin trading platform that pays a bonus to “package holders” if they recruit a new member, with residual commissions earned as the pool or team members in this binary compensation setup grow. The platform claims to offer free registration to new users, “however, you must purchase a package before you can start earning money.”
Italy’s financial watchdog “started gathering information about these platforms after receiving complaints about them,” Finance Magnates reported. In June, Consob, an autonomous statutory body set up to help regulate Italy’s securities and futures market, warned against four foreign currency brokers. It said the companies, Fah Investment Ltd, CFX Point Ltd, AJN Trade Ltd and Light Media Ltd, were not authorized to provide investment services in the country.
Europe Moves to Regulate Crypto
CONSOB follows in the footsteps of other European regulators that have announced a series of measures targeted both at taxing and regulating cryptocurrencies.
The U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority said in October that it will begin consultations on whether to ban the sale of derivatives based on digital coins like BTC as well as to restrict crypto-based contracts of difference to the public. Virtual currency futures and options will also be looked into, in discussions slated for the first quarter of 2019.
In Spain, a proposed law will seek to tax cryptocurrencies while authorities closely monitor the activities of 15,000 crypto investors.
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