Beware Of Bitcoin, Swisscoin, Others, SEC Warns Nigerians

The Securities and Exchange Commission, on Thursday said its attention had been drawn to radio advertisements and other modes of solicitations of the public to invest in cryptocurrencies such as Swisscoin, OneCoin, Bitcoin and such other virtual or digital currencies.

SEC, therefore, advised the public to exercise extreme caution with regard to digital (cryptocurrencies) as a vehicle of investments.

This warning was in consonance with similar warnings issued by capital market regulators and central banks across the world over the past few years, the regulator said in a post on its website.

Warning the public, the commission, thus, stressed that none of the persons, companies or entities promoting cryptocurrencies had been recognised or authorised by it or by other regulatory agencies in Nigeria to receive deposits from the public or to provide any investment or other financial services in or from Nigeria.

“The public should also be aware that any investment opportunities promoted by these persons, companies or entities are likely to be of a risky nature with a high risk of loss of money, while others may be outright fraudulent pyramid schemes,” the regulator noted.

The SEC added, “Given that these instruments and the persons, companies or entities that promote them have neither been authorised, nor any guidelines/regulations developed for them by any of the regulatory authorities in Nigeria, there is no protection available to users or investors in these virtual currencies from financial losses if the virtual currencies fail or the companies promoting them go out of business.

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“The public and consumers of financial services are further advised that before making any investment or entering into any financial services transaction they should ascertain that the entity with whom the investment or transaction is being made is authorised by the commission or other financial services regulatory authority as applicable to provide such services.”

SEC had in August this year, raised the alarm over the activities of some online fraudsters, who operated an online investment scheme tagged ‘MMM Federal Republic of Nigeria.’

The fraudsters, SEC said then, carried out their illegitimate business via Nigeria. portal/platform, and were promising investors a monthly investment return of 30 per cent.

It warned that the venture had no tangible business model, describing it as a Ponzi scheme, where returns would be paid from other people’s invested funds.

The commission, therefore, advised the general public to distance themselves from the online scheme, adding, “Please note that anyone that subscribes to this illegal activity does so at their own risk.”

The scheme in December last year, went under, leaving many Nigerians in pains following huge financial losses.

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