Canadian Provincial Regulator Issues Warning Against Two Firms’ ICOs

The Nova Scotia Securities Commission is taking part in 'Operation Cryptosweep'.

The Nova Scotia Securities Commission has issued a warning against two companies which are offering initial coin offerings because the companies are not licensed to sell securities in the country.

The companies are called ORCA Alliance and BIOK Ltd, according to the press release. The agency requests that members of the public inform it if they make contact with either of the two companies, which includes seeing their advertisements.

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The NSSC is one of thirteen provincial financial regulators in Canada. Its jurisdiction is a population of just under one million people.

According to the notice, this warning is part of an operation called ‘Operation Cryptosweep’, which involves 40 regional financial watchdogs from Canada and the US. It is being coordinated by the North American Securities Administrators Association and has been active in nearly 70 investigations since the beginning of this month.

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Heidi Schedler, senior enforcement counsel with the commission, said: “We are asking people to be particularly cautious when they see ads like this promoting an ICO or investment in cryptocurrency. These investment opportunities are not backed by a bank and the investments are not insured or protected by a firm or a broker.”

On the 9th of May the NSSC warned against a company called Bitcoin-bank.io for similar reasons.

Major Canadian banks have been cutting off cryptocurrency transactions this year – Scotiabank (of Nova Scotia) took the decision in March. Scotiabank is the third largest bank in Canada and one of five banks that participates in the London gold fix, which is where the price of gold is set (twice daily apart from on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when it is set only once). Scotiabank employs approximately 90,000 people.

Canada does not consider cryptocurrency legal tender and the head of the central bank has made negative comments in the past. However, the country is a popular destination for Bitcoin mining because of its climate, and there are currently 13 Bitcoin ATMs in Nova Scotia alone, according to a website called Coin ATM Radar.

Recently we reported on a new national cryptocurrency platform, to be opened by the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Bank of Montréal together.

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