Regulators in France and Italy Chase More Crypto Scams

The crackdown comes a few days after officials called the EU to address possible disruptions caused by stablecoins.

France’s top financial regulator has published a new list of investment websites that do not have authorization to operate within the country, including the so-called digital asset service providers (DASPs).

This time, one of the firms that came under the spotlight of the AMF called BitcoinFrance raises a number of red flags characteristic of investment scams. Specifically, BitcoinFrance claims to offer registered users free access to their proprietary bitcoin trading software once they deposit a minimum of $250.

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The app allegedly trades in Bitcoin/cryptocurrency markets on behalf of their clients and generates earnings of $1,000 per day, adding that their profits will be quickly realized with no risk. These claims carry the hallmarks of investment fraud.

The AMF said that the full list of unauthorized sites is available on the regulator’s website, and emphasized that these domains may change very quickly and that the list is not meant to be exhaustive.

The warning comes as Paris is seeking to police crypto activities, and in addition to such warnings, the industry regulator has recently approved the country’s first application for an initial coin offering (ICO). Further, it has published new rules regarding the licensing of digital asset service providers as well as guidelines for firms applying for the non-mandatory license and informing the regulator about internal cybersecurity practices.

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284 Domains Blocked by Italy’s Consob

The Pacte Law encompasses a very broad range of measures covering many aspects of all crypto-active players. The current laws require cryptocurrency exchanges as well as custodian providers to undergo a mandatory AMF registration and obtain a certification to be granted by the French watchdog. France’s primary regulator confirmed that it is already involved with other crypto-related operators, such as exchange platforms, custodians, and asset managers.

Elsewhere, the Italian securities regulator today blacklisted a new list of FX and crypto-focused brands. The strict actions on these unauthorized actors in the market come as offshore brokers continue to chase online trading business in Italy, including within the grey area of the country’s cryptocurrency sector.

CONSOB has been amongst the most vigilant and strict regulators in Europe when it comes to dealing with leveraged trading. Recently, it has ordered the country’s internet access providers (ISPs) to obstruct Italian investors’ access to seven online brokers, bringing the total number of backlisted entities to 284.

The crackdown by France and Italy regulators comes a few days after their officials called the European Commission to review standards and address any possible disruptions caused by stablecoins, such as Facebook’s Libra.

The yet-to-be-revealed regulatory framework for stablecoins, a form of cryptocurrency that maintains their value by staking themselves to fiat reserves, should preserve the bloc’s monetary sovereignty and address risks to monetary policy, the finance ministers of the five European Union member states said.

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