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Warning on crypto-assets / ICO

The CCAF warns the public that crypto-assets (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Monoeci etc.), commonly referred to as “virtual currencies” or “cryptocurrencies” do not qualify as currencies and are not subject to a specific regulation. These crypto-assets are not legal tender and are not a means of exchange which value is guaranteed by a Central Bank.

Similarly, public offering to raise funds in the form of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is not subject to specific regulations and does not benefit from any guarantee. Crypto-assets subscription bears a number of risks such as the complete loss of invested funds, the lack of liquidity, the volatility risk, the lack of a protection, and the risk of theft, fraud and / or money laundering.

More generally and without questioning the real value of the underlying technology (“blockchain”) that may be of interest in various sectors, the CCAF advises any person who plans to invest part of his / her savings in crypto-assets to be extremely prudent and, especially, to:

  • ensure the seriousness of the ICO organizer (the existence of the company, the authorization of the Business Development Agency, the head office location, the share capital, the management team, the location of the accounts receiving the funds, etc.);
  • understand the functioning of crypto-assets;
  • assess risk (see above);
  • ensure security related to assets under custody; and
  • assess the liquidity or the lack of liquidity of these assets.