ICOs Under Pressure, eToro Stops FX in Russia: Best of the Week

China, the UK, Russia and Denmark were all covered in last week's top stories.

The saga of the Chinese ban on cryptocurrency took up a lot of news space last week, but we still found time to report on Saxo Bank, eToro, and the FCA.

FCA warns against ICOs

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned investors on Tuesday against the speculative risks inherent with initial coin offerings (ICOs).

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The FCA views the popular practice as highly speculative, carrying exorbitant levels of risk for investors. It said:

“Businesses involved in an ICO should carefully consider if their activities could mean they are arranging, dealing or advising on regulated financial investments.

Each promoter needs to consider whether their activities amount to regulated activities under the relevant law. In addition, digital currency exchanges that facilitate the exchange of certain tokens should consider if they need to be authorised by the FCA to be able to deliver their services.”

No more FX in Russia from eToro

On Tuesday we reported that as of 13.9.17, eToro no longer offers FX trading in Russia, according to an official email sent to its Russian clients.

The changes are a consequence of the official implementation of a new regulatory framework for the provision of rolling spot FX in Russia.

Customers of the social trading provider will continue to be able to trade CFDs on commodities, shares and cryptocurrencies.

BMFN Group partners with Fair Trading Technology

On Wednesday we reported on Boston-based brokerage BMFN Group acquiring a controlling interest in Fair Trading Technology (FTT Sweden AB).

The strategic partnership is to deliver key technology to enable two new businesses – BMFN Prime, focusing on liquidity and technology, and FTT Markets, a brokerage for introducing brokers and retail clients.

Director of BMFN Paul Belogour commented: “With this strategic partnership with FTT, we can utilize the white label capabilities of FTT and transfer knowledge and solutions between the companies to provide better solutions for the clients of BMFN and FTT.”

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Saxo Bank cleared of further SNB cases

On Friday, multi-asset brokerage Saxo Bank was cleared of three more cases by the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court following the events of January 15, 2015. The cases date back to the SNB crisis.

Saxo Bank’s Group CFO, Steen Blaafalk, said to Finance Magnates:

“It is unfortunate to meet a client in a courtroom, but we are pleased that the court’s decisions once again are in line with our expectations, and that we now have the court’s word in range of cases that we acted in accordance with our business terms.”

China bans cryptocurrency

BTCC, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in China and the world, announced on Thursday that it will cease all trading operations by the end of September. The market responded quickly, and the price of Bitcoin fell to just around $3545. This was a drop from the high of $5000 less than two weeks earlier.

This move seemed to confirm rumours of a ban on Bitcoin in the country.

Later the same day, anonymous sources told Chinese financial news outlet Yicai of government plans to shut down all domestic Bitcoin exchanges by the end of September, finally confirming the rumours.

According to China Business News, the financial watchdog in Shanghai gave verbal instructions to Chinese platform operators to stop providing virtual currency trading services.

The following day, Bitcoin exchange ViaBTC announced its plans to cease operations in China this month, the second major Bitcoin exchange in China to do so.

This was followed by the cryptocurrency derivatives exchange OKEx announcing the delisting of OKCoin, Huobi, and BTCC, the top three Chinese exchanges, from its main indexes.

All Beijing-based trading venues were then ordered to notify clients of their closure by the end of Friday, according to Chinese news service Caixin.

The roller-coaster that is the cryptocurrency market sped up with the news, and the price of Bitcoin fell below $2900 and on jumped back up to above $3500 in one day.

The apparent reason was China’s two biggest Bitcoin exchanges, OKCoin and Huobi, announcing that they will continue to operate until the end of October.

This news was actually an improvement on their original plans to close down in September.

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