The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) of Austria has warned the country’s residents to exercise caution while dealing with FX and cryptocurrency broker, Raxtrade/ROI STOCK LIMITED.
The FMA said this provider, which claims to be licensed and regulated in Vincent and the Grenadines, is not entitled to provide investment advice about financial instruments under local laws.
The watchdog also advises against deposits and the transfer of money to these entities, given the inherent risk involved. While previous warnings have centered on forex firms in past years, a large majority of unregulated entities have recently been cryptocurrency providers.
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But while its recent warning did not seek to explain the merits of the virtual asset class and the reasons behind why it is seeing adoption, the regulator highlighted the potential for their misuse.
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Instead, the warning focused on addressing the increasing number of business models and investment schemes that use digital currencies.
Crypto firms operating in Austria have to apply for a license to the nation’s financial watchdog as the new Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations come into effect. Although derivatives referencing cryptoassets would not fall under this regulation, they remain subject to ESMA’s current restriction and any future proposals by the FMA regarding the sale of these instruments to retail investors.
The FMA is focused on identifying and blacklisting any individual or entity that is operating in Austria without a license or authorization where that is required by law. However, the FMA has warned that some companies are overseas operations, and the watchdog may only be alerted to them once a local investor has a problem with them.
The FMA uses investor warnings to inform the public about fraudulent operations, unauthorized service providers, and possible scams. The system is not unlike measures deployed in other jurisdictions, such as routine warnings from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or Belgium’s FSMA. The recent data supports this measure as an effective counter against scams, with the public overall being more informed and properly warned against unauthorized service providers preying on market participants.