The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Action Fraud today sent a warning to the public to be wary of investment scams. This warning comes as cryptoassests and forex investment scams in the UK tripled last year to over 1,800. Fraudsters promise high returns from investments in crypto and forex, with victims losing over £27 million in total in 2018/2019.
Fraudsters often use social media to promote their get-rich-quick schemes, with fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items like expensive watches and cars. These then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest.
Investors will often be led to believe that their first investment has successfully made a profit. The fraudster will then contact the victim to invest more money or introduce friends and family with the false promise of greater profits. However, eventually the returns stop, the customer account is closed and the scammer disappears with no further contact.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, FCA, said: “We’re warning the public to be suspicious of adverts which promise high returns from online trading platforms.
“Scammers can be very convincing so always do your own research into any firm you are considering investing with, to make sure that they are the real deal. Before investing online find out how to protect yourself from scams by visiting the ScamSmart website, and if in any doubt – don’t invest.”
CoinMetro CEO: This is the same old fraudulent activity in a new guise
Kevin Murcko, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange CoinMetro, commented on the research: “Criminals follow the money, and this report from the FCA shows they are taking advantage of consumers’ lack of understanding about crypto assets. If you’ve heard about Bitcoin on the news but don’t know how to invest, you might be tempted by the offers.
My personal background is foreign exchange brokerage and the same scams have been operating in forex since long before cryptocurrencies hit the headlines. It is about targeting individuals with promises of high profits. The fact that the FCA has now grouped together crypto and forex fraud just goes to demonstrate this is the same old fraudulent activity in a new guise.”
“The key message for investors is to always do your own research, and if an investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
The post FCA reports over £27 million lost to crypto and forex scams appeared first on CryptoNewsReview.
SBI Holdings CEO Promotes Ripple Labs’ Possible Move to Japan
Ripple Labs is currently at a crossroads. Based in San Francisco, the company has hinted numerous times this year that it could pack up and leave the United States. This week, Yoshitaka Kitao, the head of Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, welcomed the idea of the top blockchain firm moving to the Asian state.
Time to Jump Ship
In a press briefing from Wednesday, Kitao expressed optimism that Ripple Labs would move its operations base to Japan if the company decides to leave the United States. He explained that Ripple also understands this, and the company had made Japan a strong frontrunner on the list of places it could eventually move to.
Ripple’s rationale for moving out of the United States stems from what appears to be frustration with the country and its regulatory regime. Late last week, Brad Garlinghouse, the company’s chief executive, told CNBC that the firm could relocate as unfavorable regulatory conditions had become too much of a burden for them.
The company, which operates the XRP token, is one of the United States’ premier crypto firms. Garlinghouse told CNBC that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had yet to define whether its token is a currency or a security. The executive also pointed out that Ripple Labs is now facing a lawsuit from investors who claim that it offered unregistered security through its token. Regulatory clarity would be required to solve such a problem, but the SEC has so far dragged its feet.
Ripple Goes House Hunting
However, while Kitao pumped up Japan, Garlinghouse claimed that the United Kingdom was a prospective landing spot for Ripple. The CEO explained that the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had taken a more active role in policing the country’s crypto industry.
“What you see in the U.K. is a clear taxonomy, and the U.K.’s FCA took a leadership role in characterizing how we should think about these different assets and their use cases. The outcome of that was clarity that XRP is not a security and is used as a currency. With that clarity, it would be advantageous for Ripple to operate in the U.K.,” Garlinghouse said in part.
Chris Larsen, Ripple Labs’ co-founder, expressed a similar sentiment. Speaking with a Fortune Magazine reported earlier this month, Larsen explained that the United States had been “woefully behind” when it comes to financial innovation and cryptocurrencies in particular.
Larsen also criticized the SEC for its “regulation through enforcement” approach to the crypto space, explaining that this could eventually drive several other firms out. For him, the company would be better served if it moved to countries like Switzerland, Japan, or the U.K.
The blockchain firm has also reportedly shortlisted Singapore. Per a Bloomberg report from last week, Garlinghouse claimed that he had spoken to SPBI about a potential move to the “land of the rising sun.” Now, Kitao is weighing in as well. He does appear to have first-hand information, given that SBI Holdings is an investor in Ripple and he holds a seat on the company’s board.
NYDFS Expresses Concern Over Bitcoin Mining & Climate Change
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has sent out a letter to several financial institutions warning against Bitcoin mining and climate change risks. The Oct 29 letter, which is signed by Superintendent Linda Lacewell and addressed to the heads of these institutions, specifically mentions crypto mining as a risk factor. In 2019, the […]
The post NYDFS Expresses Concern Over Bitcoin Mining & Climate Change appeared first on BeInCrypto.
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has sent out a letter to several financial institutions warning against Bitcoin mining and climate change risks.
The Oct 29 letter, which is signed by Superintendent Linda Lacewell and addressed to the heads of these institutions, specifically mentions crypto mining as a risk factor.
In 2019, the NYDFS joined the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (“NGFS”). The body describes itself as,
“a group of central banks and supervisors willing, on a voluntary basis, to share best practises and contribute to environment and climate risk management in the financial sector.”
Central Banks and Climate Change
In the letter, Lacewell revealed that the NYDFS recently hired Dr. Yue Chen to serve as its first-ever Director of Sustainability and Climate Initiatives.
In this role, she is to engage with industrial and regulatory stakeholders to develop a best practice framework for New York’s financial industry to navigate environmental issues.
Critics have pointed out that the NYDFS lacks the regulatory teeth to adequately pursue any such agenda because the law does not give it any such powers.
However, the regulator believes that the risk to property and business activities posed by natural disasters and weather events is enough to warrant its attempts to intervene directly.
An excerpt from the letter reads:
“[Climate change] could negatively impact the balance sheets of Regulated Non-Depositories through adverse impact on the businesses of their customers, including their loss of income, as well as any devalued investments due to physical or transition risks.”
Conflicting Messages About Bitcoin Mining
The letter specifically mentions bitcoin mining as a risk factor for climate change. It cites reports claiming that the energy used to maintain the bitcoin network’s hashrate is equivalent to Venezuela’s total electricity consumption and has a carbon footprint the size of New Zealand’s.
However, it then appears to contradict itself by pointing out that it’s difficult to accurately estimate the amount of energy used to mine bitcoin due to location-dependence.
In China’s Sichuan Valley region, for example, bitcoin mining operations are popular due to the availability of vast amounts of cheap hydropower, which has a much softer environmental impact than burning fossil fuels.
The letter further mentions that cryptocurrency mining’s environmental impact is “relatively small compared to sectors such as transportation.”
It then recommends that crypto miners should be more forthcoming about information that could be considered trade secrets, such as mining locations and equipment used.
The letter continues:
“Virtual currency firms should consider increasing transparency of the location and equipment used in bitcoin mining to help alleviate these concerns. It is also reported that the energy cost for mining virtual currencies is sizable compared to the value of the virtual currencies. […] These estimates, of course, do not take into account the electricity needed to power the storage, trading, and tracking of virtual currency necessary to keep the industry operating.”
Concluding the segment on crypto mining, the letter explains that data suggests some crypto miners are making strides in sustainable energy sourcing to mitigate the implicit environmental risk their activities hold.
Mongolia’s Oldest Bank Delivers Full-Stack Crypto Services
The Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia (TDB Bank), one of Mongolia’s premier banking institutions, is the latest financial giant to step into the crypto space. Per a report from industry news source DDaily, the firm, which is based in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, is going all-in on the industry and will now offer a suite of services targeted at investors.
All Services Available
The report explains that this new crypto venture results from a partnership between TDB Bank, white-label tech company Delio, and blockchain development firm Hexland. By pooling their resources, the partners are ensuring that TDB Bank will be able to provide a wide array of services – including but not limited to remittance, custody, deposits, asset management, and even loans.
Besides the three partners, the initiative will also reportedly include input from MDKI, a Mongolian mineral resource, and blockchain firm. It is unclear what expertise each firm will bring to the table, although Hexland reportedly provides services like wallet development, smart contract development, and blockchain transaction verification.
TDB Bank is one of Mongolia’s oldest and largest banks. Its decision to enter the crypto space will undoubtedly boost the hopes of increased crypto adoption in the country. While the bank primarily works with industrial clients, there’s little doubt that it would expand its crypto offering to individual investors as well.
Speaking to DDaily, an unnamed official from Delio said that the partnership gives all parties full access to the global virtual asset financial market. For now, however, there’s no launch date for the new crypto service.
Driving Crypto Miners Out
The development marks what seems to be the latest in Mongolia’s push to be a crypto-friendly region. However, there have also been some significant drawbacks – especially for the mining space.
In August, reports confirmed that officials in inner Mongolia were considering an electrical policy that would cut out the supply of cheap, state-subsidized power to crypto mining firms. According to the Inner Mongolia Electric Power Group Co., the region should see about 6.732 billion yuan ($977 million) in new taxes and fees on affected firms thanks to these new measures.
Inner Mongolia has racked up quite the reputation as a crypto mining hotspot. Firms in the region benefit from a cold climate and access to a skilled labor pool. However, cheap electricity is the most alluring factor. With firms like AntPool and Bitmain setting up shop in the city, it is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.
This isn’t the first time that reports would allude to a potential freeze of cheap power. Last September, local news source ChainNews reported that five government departments had proposed measures to curtail the region’s growing mining space.
The departments include the Development and Reform Commission, the Office of the Ministry of Industry, the Public State Department, the Big Data Bureau, and the Financial Office. They reportedly believed that mining was a component of the pseudo-financial world, and that it didn’t have any contributions to Mongolia’s “real economy.”
It remains unknown whether they would act on the electricity policy or not.
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