Italy’s Watchdog Orders ISPs to Block Five FX, Crypto Brokers

CONSOB made its decision under the “Decreto Crescita,’ which allows it to block access to such websites in Italy.

Italy’s securities regulator on Monday has ordered Italian internet access providers (ISPs) to block local investors’ access to five websites offering financial services without the authorization to do so.

The Commissione Nazionale per la Società e la Borsa (Consob), the regulator of financial markets in Italy, said the listed firms were found engaging in “unlawful” and “misleading” marketing practices with regard to the promotion of FX and cryptocurrency products.

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Consob has ordered in particular the black-out of the following websites:

  • TomCom Limited (https://royalfxpro.eu);
  • Bonatech Ltd e Mitchell Group EOOD (https://ccxcrypto.com);
  • Next Trade Ltd e TLC Consulting Ltd (https://aspenholding.co e https://aspen-holding.com);
  • “Trader Platinum” (www.traderplatinum.com);
  • London Capital Trade Ltd (www.londoncapitaltrade.net).

The financial watchdog clarified that it made the latest decision under the “Decreto Crescita,’ which allows CONSOB to order internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to such websites in Italy.

Of note, one of the blacklisted brands operates under the name ‘London Capital Trade (LCT),’ a name similar enough to London Capital Group (LCG) that it may dupe some dummies to believe that it was the FCA-authorized broker that had contacted them.

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Earlier in June, the watchdog decided to follow in the footsteps of ESMA, banning the sale of binary options to retail customers and also extended its restriction against promoting the contracts for difference (CFDs) to non-professional investors.

Cryptos under CONSOB’s scope

The CONSOB warning list also features the names of businesses that are dealing in crypto assets, either in the form of the underlying coins or its related derivatives such as CFDs. The Italian regulator warned that said brokers offer cryptocurrency-focused trading services without having the proper permissions.

So far, Italy does not have specific legislation governing cryptocurrencies. The country’s regulators only tried to provide a definition of the virtual assets exclusively for the purpose of AML laws, qualifying virtual currencies as a “digital representation of value not issued by a central bank or a public authority, not necessarily linked to a legal tender currency, used as a medium of exchange for purchases of goods and services, electronically transferred, stored and traded.”

Most recently, however, the finance ministry has completed its consultations on registration and reporting requirements of the blockchain industry. The bill draft requires crypto exchanges to report their activities in full to the authorities, which is an addition to the previous decree issued in May 2017.

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