New Jersey lawmakers have labeled investment platform Bitstrade “fraudulent” and sent a cease and desist order demanding it halts operations.
A press release accompanying the “emergency order” warns that Bitstrade was not licensed to offer securities in the state of New Jersey, and that it was “violating the law” by not disclosing key information about its operations.
The enforcement came courtesy of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, as well as its Division of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Securities and Division of Law.
The release states:
“…[T]he Bureau found that Bitstrade is violating the State’s Uniform Securities Law by offering investors an unregistered security in the form of an investment pool that purportedly guarantees up to 10 percent returns which accrue daily on investor funds. Bitstrade is not registered to sell securities in New Jersey,”
Regarding withholding information, the order makes specific reference to “failing to disclose key material facts to prospective investors, including the names of its executive officers, the address of its principal office, information about Bitstrade's financial condition, the risks of the Bitstrade Investment, and how Bitstrade invests investors’ money, the Bureau found.”
The move comes just weeks after self-proclaimed “cryptocurrency bank” AriseBank was ordered to halt operations in the state of Texas and stop serving its residents.
At the same time, US regulators at national level in the form of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) continue to urge caution on ICOs and similar offerings in the cryptocurrency industry.
In a dedicated hearing on associated regulation Feb. 6, the chairmen of both agencies committed to “collaborating on… approaches to policing [cryptocurrency] markets for fraud and abuse.”
“What makes Bitstrade’s fraudulent offer potentially more harmful for unsophisticated investors is that cryptocurrency is virtually anonymous, so there is no recourse for investors to recoup their losses,” Division of Consumer Affairs acting director Sharon Joyce meanwhile said about the New Jersey move.