The list now includes a total of 141 websites offering cryptocurrency-related services that are considered as “fraudulent”.
Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) have added new crypto-related businesses to its blacklist to avoid the operation of companies not authorized to operate with cryptocurrencies in its territory.
These are websites associated with fraudulent activity, according to the official entity so they could not work and the FSMA is looking to prevent them from committing money laundering with crypto assets.
In this sense, the FSMA made the update due to a growing number of complaints from Belgium-based users who dealt with fraudulent offers of investment in digital currencies, according to an announcement known this February 21st.
After the latest revision, the FSMA’s blacklist now includes a total of 141 websites offering cryptocurrency-related services.
But, as the FSMA explained, this list includes only those businesses reported by users and found by the agency’s findings. This means that it does not include all the crypto-related businesses that could be illegally operating in Belgium.
Some months ago, the FSMA issued similar warnings to cryptocurrency investors, explaining that they should be wary of companies that claim to hold authorizations from supervisory authorities. In this case, investors should be very sure about the legality of the company they are working with.
Regarding that aspect, the FSMA said: “This is a very frequently used technique. However, these are often cases of identity theft. Feel free to ask the FSMA to confirm the information you have received”.
Campaigns to Raise Awareness
Last June, the Belgian FPS Economy launched a website to raise awareness of the risks associated with investments in crypto when companies are not very sure about the legality and precedence of some “providers”.
Previously, in 2018, Belgian investors had reported to the FSMA agency the loss of €2.2 million (USD 2.5 million) in crypto scams. However, the FPS said that this was “just the tip of the iceberg” as only 4% of crypto fraud cases had been reported.
According to the estimations of the FPS, investors in Belgium lose about €130 million ($152 million) per year due to crypto scams. These crimes could be prevented so the FSMA is now acting to try to alert investors and prevent future inconveniences.
International Support for Investors
The positive news is that there are authorities in countries around the world that provide informational support for cryptocurrency investors as an attempt to “save” them from potential losses.
Last January, the State Security Board in the American state of Texas, in the United States, included cryptocurrencies in their list of top “threats” for investors.
“Promoters’ claims of ‘secure’ cryptocurrency-related investments and ‘guaranteed’ profits should be approached with caution: Cryptocurrencies tend to be extremely volatile and investors may be unable to quickly liquidate products tied to them”, a guide warned to this type of public.
Meanwhile, Financial Stability Board Chair Randal Quarles has voiced his concerns regarding how quickly digital currencies are affecting (for better or worse) the global economy while regulatory action struggles to keep up.
The truth is that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are a new form to execute faster payments but real crypto-businesses should try to operate legally in the country they are and investors should be sure about the transparency and legality of the company they are working with.
By María Rodríguez