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London Police Investigate OneCoin Cryptocurrency Scheme

The London police are investigating a digital currency scheme widely believed to be fraudulent.

Sep 27, 2016 at 6:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:31 p.m. UTC

The London police are investigating a digital currency scheme widely believed to be fraudulent.

OneCoin, promoted as a digital currency investment opportunity, was cited as a risk to consumers this week by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, one of several finance regulators in the country and the agency that has participated in the licensing of legitimate bitcoin and blockchain service providers.

Marketed as a digital currency similar to bitcoin, OneCoin has key differences such as an promotion-heavy pitch focused on selling investment packages and a centralized hub for exchange, storage and transaction logging. Critics have gone so far as to argue that OneCoin, as a currency, doesn't actually exist.

In statements, the FCA urged consumers who believe they have been scammed to contact the London police's fraud division.

The agency said:

"This firm is not authorized by us and we do not believe it is undertaking any activities that require our authorization. However, we are concerned about the potential risks this firm poses to UK consumers."

Notably, this is not the first time that OneCoin has drawn the ire of regulators.

In July, Belgian authorities warned consumers about investing in OneCoin, warning that "false and misleading" information was being disseminated by supporters.

Though unconfirmed, financial watchdogs in Germany and Bangladesh, among other likely countries, are believed to be investigating the issue further.

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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