Crypto Exchange Ordered To Halt Brokerage Business By German Financial Regulator

News, Regulation | January 31, 2018 By:

The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), Germany’s financial regulator, has ordered Berlin-based firm Crypto.exchange GmbH to stop operating as a financial brokerage.

BaFin stated the Berlin-based firm had been advertising services to sell customer bitcoins on exchanges, and then transfer the gains, in Euros, to the clients’ accounts – all within 30 minutes. The financial regulator claims Crypto.exchange GmbH is essentially operating a financial commission business without regulatory authorization, and has ordered the company to stop these specific services immediately.

Crypto.exchange GmbH’s website, btc-now.de, claimed that the company had already been audited by BaFin. However, the service had faced criticism from users who are claiming that they did not receive payment in any form after they had already transferred bitcoins to the firm.

The btc-now.de website is currently not operational. According to Bloomberg, the company has been unreachable in any capacity since Monday, adding that their phone line “did not seem to be working,” and an email addressed to their email address used for contact by clients apparently bounced back.

In April 2017, BaFin issued cease and desist orders against three companies connected to OneCoin, an alleged cryptocurrency that has drawn law enforcement attention in several countries. The order was aimed at ending any activity related to OneCoin in the country.

In November 2017, the regulator warned investors of the risks associated with initial coin offerings (ICO). BaFin stated that ICOs are a highly speculative form of investment and that the acquisition of tokens as part of ICOs may result in substantial risks for investors.