Italy Warns About Company Purporting To Be Registered In St Vincent

Italy , St Vincent
Photo: Headquarters of Italian financial markets regulator Consob in Rome, Italy (Reuters)

Italy’s securities regulator on Monday issued a cease and desist notice against a lesser-known cryptocurrency firm called Avacrypto, which was just blacklisted after it was found facilitating trading in digital currencies without being authorized to provide ‎‎investment services or activities in the country.

While the firm’s website is currently not accessible, information from websites that scrutinize cryptocurrency dealers shows that the broker has been handling trading services while not registered with any European regulator as a licensed broker.

Avacrypto is the latest company to come under ‎scrutiny by the watchdog. The broker is operating from ‎the site, purporting ‎to be registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.‎

So far, Italy does not have specific legislation governing cryptocurrencies. 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”.

Most recently, however, the finance ministry has completed its consultations on registration and reporting requirements of the blockchain industry. The bill draft requires crypto exchanges to report their activities in full to the authorities, which is an addition to the previous decree issued in May 2017.

Meanwhile, CONSOB follows in the footsteps of other European regulators that frequently issue a series of warnings against companies engaged in schemes to promote cryptocurrency mining and investments.