Like regulators in a number of countries, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been increasing its concern over cryptocurrency related investments. It has recently warned a cryptocurrency investment platform because it offered unregistered securities. The firm known as Onecash Trading, recruits’ cryptocurrency traders as their affiliate members and promises to reward them in local currency, whenever they recruit new members of the same scheme for Onecash Trading.
According to that SEC alert, the firm Onecash Trading has been promising potential investors returns of 200 percent interest over eight weeks. Though its registered headquarter is not known. Onecash claims its global coverage of services across 73 different countries. In a statement issued by SEC, it was said that the firm is offering unregistered securities to investors in the Philippines.
SEC thereby warned the public that such investment schemes are not secure whether they offer traditional currency use of money or cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, dash, monero or any other such digital currency. It was also stated that all such transactions are considered as securities subject to the regulatory authority of the SEC.
It was further stated that any person involved with promoting, selling and recruiting investment services for Onecash, no matter if he is a salesman, dealer or agent, the person will face prosecution and serious penalties up to 5 million pesos ($270,000) or imprisonment of up to 21 years.
Suggestions for Online Traders
The SEC has also shown its concerns that many online trading platforms appear to investors as SEC-registered and regulated companies or firms while in fact they are not. In the same way, many of these firms sometimes call themselves as exchanges, giving the pseudo impression that they are being regulated by national securities exchange. To cancel any chance of further fraud in this regard the SEC has devised a pack of rules in the light of which online traders should ask the following questions before they decide to trade digital assets:
- Is your firm registered as a national securities exchange?
- Can any information be found in FINRA’s BrokerCheck about any individuals operating your firm?
- How do you ensure safety of your users’ trading and personal information?
- What kind of measures you take against cybersecurity threats?
- What kind of other services are provided by your firm?
- How does your firm select assets for its digital trading?
- Who can trade on the platform?
- What is the trading criteria for your platform?
- How do you set prices for your platform?
- Are all the users treated equally or not?
- Is your firm registered with the SEC for all the above-mentioned services?
The SEC hopes that the above measures would cancel any chance of fatal fraud in the online cryptocurrency related investments.
Digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum have been soaring pretty high over the past few months. According to the latest estimates:
- Bitcoin currently stands at $2588 per BTC
- Ripple has hit the market cap of $10 billion
- Ethereum has reached a total market cap of around $20 billion.
This incredible growth in value is the outcome of efforts put in by two countries – China and Japan.
China has been leading the Bitcoin market for the last couple of years. The Chinese mining pools are in charge of 60% of the Bitcoin network’s hash rate. Also, with a cheap electricity and access to proper hardware, China provides the ideal ground for digital mining.
However, in February 2017, three of China’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges suspended all withdrawals due to increased concerns over money laundering and capital flight. BTC China, Huobi, and OKCoin declared in separate statements that they will lift the suspension after the proper implementation of new guidelines set by the Central Bank.
Luckily, during June, there was an announcement that the self-imposed halt on withdrawals by Bitcoin exchanges was no more in place. The news took China by storm. The citizens responded with complete enthusiasm, assuring that they have complete confidence in digital currencies.
While China was on a halt in the beginning of the year, Japan took Bitcoin to an entirely new level. Towards the start, Japan barely took up 1% of the total Bitcoin market in trading volume. However, that soon changed as Japan now holds at least 6% of trading volume at the moment.
Moreover, Japan has entirely eliminated the tax on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, a move which will ultimately increase the trading activities within the Japanese exchange market. The main aim behind this move was to ensure that all transactions take place without having to deal with any external factors such as taxes. Now, Bitcoin traders and businesses can run smoothly and easily access cryptocurrencies in the country.
Furthermore, Large institutions in Japan have now begun to accept Bitcoin as a payment option. Japan’s largest exchange, bitFlyer, now has the backing of all of Japan’s megabanks: MUFJ, Mizuho, and SMBC. In addition, Bic Camera, a very popular retailer, has paired with bitFlyer to accept Bitcoin at all of its locations. As the acceptance of digital currencies by influential retailers increases, the Japanese have begun to trust digital currencies for daily transactions.
Both the Chinese and Japanese, are responsible for boosting Bitcoin’s value to new heights.
Acceptance by The Government:
The Japanese Government is determined to provide their business community with a proper secure environment, where they are able to easily access cryptocurrencies and conduct trading activities. They’ve already assured that all their retail stores are well-equipped with the right security systems to prevent money laundering and fraudulent transactions from happening.
Ultimately, both governments are driving the cryptocurrency’s growth off the charts, with China in plans of designing and launching its own currency and Japan legally classifying Bitcoin a form of payment.
You can find lots of advertisements and links related to ICO startup companies, but do you know what ICO really is? If you don’t, we’re here to help you out. In this blog, we are going to enlighten you about what ICO means, what it involves, and how you can avoid Initial Coin Offering scams.
What is ICO?
ICO stands for “Initial Coin Offering.” ICO wasn’t known to many people until cryptocurrencies we created and became a trend. The word “ICO” is borrowed from IPO (Initial Public Offering). Now, you must be wondering, what’s IPO? IPO is the event in which a company goes public in the finance world. But, what happens when a company goes public? Well, it means that the company is going to launch stock options publicly, for each and every one out there to purchase its share, with this hope that these purchased-shares would have more worth one day. You can also say that an IPO is one of the possible exoduses of a venture-capital-investment.
What Makes It Different?
An ICO is usually used as a crowdfunding project by cryptocurrency startup ventures to fund a startup company. Funds are provided through well-recognized cryptocurrencies like; Bitcoin or Ethereum or in the form of traditional currency and in exchange, they are given a quantity of the cryptocurrency, which they’re funding with, which means, in the form of “tokens!” After the ICO project gets successfully completed, tokens are exchanged into the functional units of a cryptocurrency that is newly created.
Many companies find ICOs attractive since they are not under any regulations, and the startup ventures can collect funding without any exertion and cost for the regulatory acquiescence. On the other side, risks for investors also get increased as countries like South Korea and China have banned the ICOs.
For ICO crowdfunding ventures, the marketing heavily depends on social media platforms which also include paid-ads. Similarly, there are many ICO ads now, which are being shown on different websites. The social media giant, Facebook has already banned ICO-related advertisements; however, from June 2018, Google is also going to put a ban on advertisements related to ICO.
Is ICO a Scam?
No, ICOs are not always a scam. However, the way they work is the main thing that allows scammers to gain a lot of money from those investors who believed in the startup. Just because of this, few top-investors recommend “real businesses” to avoid these ICOs and continue their business in the same way they were doing before. The year, 2017 has shown that almost 46% of all-known ICO ventures have been proven to be unsuccessful and after the payments were made, the websites, as well as social media profiles were left abandoned or were quickly vanished.
Well, all of this data shows that all ICOs aren’t always a scam, however, like other crowdfunding ventures, especially investing in general, you have to very careful where you invest. While assessing Initial Coin Offering scams, make sure to do your research about the individuals behind it. A robust ICO will offer potential investors every single detail about the developers, security experts, advisors, and others linked with the project. A legitimate ICO will offer a variety of places and social media links where investors can communicate with developers. They’ll also provide their Facebook page of the project so that you could assess its engagement levels.
How to Avoid ICO Scams
If we look at the recent lists of Initial Coin Offering campaigns, it’s quite hard to come up with a reasonable filter, and there’s no doubt that experienced investors wouldn’t consider how sceptical it is, but as with any investment, nothing can be predicted related to ICO or about its certainty. Even in some cases, basic managerial accounting data isn’t available; however, many ICO trackers still try to combine lists of seemingly pertinent parameters.
Initial Coin Offering scams show that fraudsters are going to extraordinary-extents to scam gullible investors. Also, when it comes to taking decisions related to investment, it focuses on the needs of investors. According to the founder of Skill Incubator, Chris Dunn, the cryptocurrency community must have to become extra incisive towards new ICOs; otherwise, governments around the world are expected to take stricter stances into cryptocurrencies at a whole new level.
Also, an ICO whitepaper is the initial document for the project, which describes the aim, background, strategy, and concerns for the implementation of all blockchain-related projects. Whitepapers can be extremely skimpy like; companies that have an ostentatious website may unveil that they lack a basic-sound concept. Then again, a company with a website that contains spelling errors might have a whitepaper that shows a rigid concept and a prudently created implementation strategy.