Austria’s FMA Warns of Unlicensed Crypto Broker Elcurrency Global Limited

The alert notes that 'Hello Technology Ltd' is not also allowed to run financial-related operations in Austria.

Austria’s top financial regulator issued a warning to investors about an unauthorized cryptocurrency exchange pursuing banking transactions in the country. The Financial Market Authority (FMA) said that Elcurrency Global Limited (ELcurrency), which operates under the website, does not have a license to run operations in Austria.

In the note published on FMA’s website, the warning adds that the company concludes transactions with the ‘Hello Technology Ltd’ name. The records show that both brand names are registered at an address located in the Marshall Islands – the same one used by several offshore brokers globally.

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“This provider is not authorized to carry out banking transactions in Austria that require a license. The provider is, therefore, neither permitted to trade on a commercial basis on its own account or on behalf of others,” the FMA commented in the investor’s warning.

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Per ELcurrency’s website, the exchange allegedly offers a trading portfolio based on Bitcoin and education packages for users who want to open an account with them. In addition, the firm claims to provide ‘arbitrage units’ and managed accounts, claiming to have over 2,000 customers as of press time.

Moreover, the watchdog added that they published such a warning in the ‘Amtsblatt zur Wiener Zeitung’, the Official Gazette of the Wiener Zeitung, one of the oldest newspapers in the world.

FMA New Rules on Anti-money Laundering

As Finance Magnates reported in September 2020, the FMA blacklisted some crypto brokers in the wake of the regulations that started to take place in Austria. Per the rulings, crypto firms in the country should apply for a license to abide by the new Anti-Money Laundering (AML) measures, aligned with the ESMA’s regulations, despite the fact that derivatives referencing cryptocurrencies does not fall under that regulation.

In 2016, the Austrian financial regulator issued one of its first warnings asking investors to exercise caution when investing or trading with “virtual currencies and virtual currency-based business.” Among the reasons to publish the alert included the fact that crypto investment opportunities were used to run multi-level marketing schemes.

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