Financial advisory firm Rothschild & Co. issued an unusual warning on Monday: stay away from a "fraudulent" digital currency.
The company said that an investment scheme dubbed "LCF Coins" or "Rothschild Family LCF Project" is making the rounds in China, invoking its name as part of a fundraising bid. Rothschild & Co was founded in the mid-1800s, becoming a powerful force in the areas of private banking and wealth management.
As one might be expected, the firm took a harsh stance against the digital currency's alleged premise.
The notice warned:
"This scheme purports to be a fund for investment in relation to virtual currencies and the "Internet of Things" and to pay out money in tranches based on the time people invested. This indicates that the fund is very similar to a Ponzi scheme."
BehindMLM, a publication that focuses on multi-level marketing schemes, published a report in January on LCF, which reportedly sought to drum up support by invoking the names of former US president George Bush and former UK prime minister Tony Blair, among others.
Among the claims specific to the Rothschild advisory firm was the assertion that the company was building a central office for LCF Coin. The site further warned that those peddling LCF Coin were collecting personal information that could be used to fuel identity theft.
Rothschild & Co. said that it was moving to address the use of the name.
"Rothschild & Co has taken various steps to draw the attention of the public in China to the fact that this unregulated scheme is misappropriating the 'Rothschild' name without authorisation, and continues to offer co-operation with the authorities," the company said.
This isn't the first time a major financial firm published a warning about a fake digital currency.
In November 2015, JPMorgan spoke out against "JPM Coin", which utilized the same form of multi-level marketing approach seen in other digital currency schemes.. The bank told would-be investors at the time that it "has not authorised any virtual currency (of this type or similar in any way)".
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