Swiss Finance Regulator Cracks Down on 'E-Coin' Cryptocurrency Scheme

Switzerland's financial markets regulator has cracked down on a trio of companies tied to an alleged cryptocurrency scam.

AccessTimeIconSep 20, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:57 a.m. UTC
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Switzerland's financial markets regulator has ordered the closure of three companies tied to an alleged cryptocurrency scam.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) announced on September 19 that it had shut down the Quid Pro Quo Association, Digital Trading AG and Marcelco Group AG in connection with the sales of a so-called "E-Coin" cryptocurrency. The companies had apparently been operating without the appropriate authorization, and were liquidated by FINMA as a result. 

Notably, FINMA said that, unlike other cryptocurrencies, E-Coin didn't function in a decentralized manner, but was instead under the complete control of those selling them.

The agency explained:

"Via this [E-Coin] platform, these three legal entities accepted funds amounting to at least four million Swiss francs [$4.2 million] from several hundred users and operated virtual accounts for them in both legal tender and E-Coins. This activity is similar to the deposit-taking business of a bank and is illegal unless the company in question holds the relevant financial market license."

Notably, E-Coin isn't the only allegedly fraudulent crypto scheme on FINMA's radar.

In its release, FINMA said it had warned three other companies against offering fake cryptocurrencies, listing Suisse Finance GmbH in Liquidation, Euro Solution GmbH, and Animax United LP as the firms in question. The regulator is also investigating other groups for potentially unauthorized cryptocurrency sales, and warns that anyone interested in investing in cryptocurrencies ensure that they are protected.

"In addition, FINMA is conducting eleven investigations into other presumably unauthorised business models relating to such coins," the agency said.

Swiss flag image via Shutterstock

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