Unregulated Brokers Continue to Hunt for Business in Italy

In June, the watchdog decided to follow in the footsteps of ESMA, banning binary options and also extended CFDs restriction.

Offshore brokers continue to chase online trading business in Italy, including within the gray area of the country’s cryptocurrency sector. The Italian securities regulator, Consob, today blacklisted a new list of FX and crypto-focused brands including 4xRoyal Ltd, Game Capital Ads Ltd, Kronosinvest, Sky Hub Limited, and Zuitex, among many others.

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. The regulator said some retail trading products were highly dysfunctional, with the onus on consumers to understand the risks associated with investing in unregulated assets.

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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 the said brokers offer cryptocurrency trading services without having the proper permissions.

Despite those flaws, CONSOB was laying out which aspects of the nascent crypto industry it regulates. Though it remains a tiny part of the broader financial system, the digital assets have attracted strong demand from retail investors.

So far, Italy does not have specific legislation governing cryptocurrencies, which its watchdog describes as highly volatile instruments that unlike other assets, usually lack guarantees, because of their potential for quick losses.

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.”

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