Scams are driving South African authorities to regulate crypto trading

South African regulators are looking for to workout more control over cryptocurrency trading following the collapse of what was declared to be the biggest Ponzi plan the nation has actually ever seen.

Self-declared Bitcoin (BTC) trading company Mirror Trading International was put in provisionary liquidation in December, as financiers attempted and stopped working to withdraw their funds. The firm declared to have actually drawn in over 260,000 subscriptions worldwide, dealing with a reported 23,000 Bitcoin — an amount now worth in the area of $716 million.

However, an examination by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority exposed the company kept no accounting records, nor any type of user database. The business’s management declared to have actually been misguided by CEO Johann Steynberg, who they state might have run away to Brazil.

Lawyers for the company’s staying management worried that the FSCA had actually not yet determined that MTI was running as a Ponzi plan, just that it was trading without a license.

The FSCA’s head of enforcement, Brandon Topham, informed Bloomberg that prosecuting authorities had to be able to stop such plans prior to they collected momentum:

“At the point something becomes a Ponzi scheme, we have lost our jurisdiction. We need the police and the prosecuting authority to work fast and put people in jail.”

To that end, the authority is making propositions to officially regulate the trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Topham stated. 

Topham stated attempting to get in at an early stage Ponzi plans had actually ended up being relatively typical practice in South Africa:

“I have been on radio shows where people say, ‘I am a professional Ponzi investor. You get in quick and get out and like with any business you have to risk money to make money.’ We need to make an example of MTI so that people understand that investing in a Ponzi is never a good idea.”

In July the Texas State Securities Board closed down MTI operations occurring in its jurisdiction, after concluding that the job was a multi-level marketing plan. South Africa’s own regulators were currently suspicious of MTI’s claims that it would return 10% revenue monthly for each user.

“It’s going to take a serious investigation to ascertain how much was involved,” Topham informed Bloomberg, including that 2 other companies were under examination for possible ties to MTI. Liquidators have actually so far stopped working to trace all of the business’s possessions, and are anticipated to be given a broadened last liquidation order on March. 1, presuming legal procedures stay unopposed.

While federal governments have actually flirted with cryptocurrency guideline for several years, they are now being pressed into enacting concrete laws due to the increasing profile of Bitcoin and associated cryptocurrencies.

In December, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stated that the United States Treasury Department was proposing laws that might see exchanges need a name and physical address needed for users associated with any crypto deal surpassing $3,000 in worth.