The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has issued a warning against two cryptocurrency exchanges operating without a license and permit.
Under the Maltese law, financial services, even crypto exchanges, are mandated to obtain proper licenses and authorization from the government.
Crypto exchanges in question claim to be licensed
According to the respective websites of the cryptocurrency exchanges in question, they claim to be “licensed and regulated as a Category 3 Investment Services provider by the Malta Financial Services Authority.”
This is supported by a document that purports to be from the Malta Business Registry, but it is yet to be verified for authenticity.
Both exchanges in question have yet to release their statements.
MFSA’s continuing fight against unlicensed exchanges
MFSA further warns the public that the two exchanges are “likely to be a scheme of dubious nature with a high risk of loss of money.”
The MFSA reminded the public that due diligence is important. Consumers are discouraged from entering financial services transactions without making sure that the entities they are transacting with have been authorized by the MFSA or any other reputable regulator.
Back in February 2020, MFSA announced to the public that Binance is not authorized by the MFSA “to operate in the cryptocurrency sphere” and is therefore “not subject to regulatory oversight by the MFSA.” At that time, MFSA was still assessing if Binance has activities in Malta.
MFSA’s thrust in tackling crypto scams and fraudulent activities have been full-throttle since 2018.
MFSA has a public record of the firms licensed and regulated by the authority. It can be found in its Financial Services Register page.
History of losses in exchanges
Reports about stolen assets from cryptocurrency exchanges and investments are not new. A 2019 report by CipherTrace revealed that in the months of January until July alone, a total of worth US$4.26 billion [AU$7 billion] have already been defrauded from legitimate crypto exchanges and users.
BITpoint’s case was one of the biggest thefts in 2019. Over $28 million worth of cryptocurrencies in total were stolen from the exchange, and $19.3 million were customer assets. Stolen financial assets comprised of BTC, XRP, ETH, LTC, and BCH.