Financial Watchdogs in the United States and Canada are reportedly tracking down on several cryptocurrency-related scams. Reuters reports that the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) on Monday, May 21 announced “Operation Crypto-Sweep”, a wide-ranging series of cryptocurrency investigations.
NASAA is a group comprising State regulators from territories, states and districts of the US, Canada, and Mexico which aims to protect consumers who purchase securities or investment advice. In April, the body commissioned a cryptocurrency task force which has initiated 70 probes into unregistered securities offerings and deceptive Initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Some of the investigations (about 35 of them) have already been concluded and regulators have taken appropriate actions. In some cases, suspicious cryptocurrency schemes were asked to stop operations while officials promised sterner enforcement actions to defaulting operators.
According to Joe Borg, the current president of NASAA president and director of the Alabama Securities Commission, the actions they’ve taken are just the tip of the iceberg. “We’re putting ourselves in the shoes of investors. We’re seeing what’s being promoted to investors. And then we’re taking the next step and then we’re finding out whether they’re complying with securities laws,” he said.
The state of Cryptocurrency regulation in North America
Of late, regulators in the United States have focused their attention on cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have made attempts to curtail cryptocurrency excesses. The SEC and CFTC planned a probe into Ethereum and other coins which were introduced through ICOs. The FTC said its focus was on deceptive ads and consumer protection.
Though not every ICO or cryptocurrency investment product is fraudulent, Borg said noted that consumers face higher risks of being misled. Investigators uncovered about 30,000 cryptocurrency-related domains most of which were created last year when cryptocurrency became popular.
Borg also promised more collaboration and cooperation in the fight against fake cryptocurrency investments. Regulators also asked the public to be careful when investing and report potential scams.