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Hong Kong regulator blocks access to two crypto entities, warning of fraud

Hong Kong regulator blocks access to two crypto entities, warning of fraud


The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong has issued a warning related to suspected fraud involving crypto entities Hong Kong Digital Research Institute and BitCuped.

In a Dec. 6 notice, the SFC said the Hong Kong Police Force had blocked access to the websites of BitCuped and Hong Kong Digital Research Institute — also known as HongKongDAO — claiming users could be fooled into making illegitimate investments. The regulator also issued cease and desist letters to the firms’ website operators.

“The SFC suspects HongKongDAO may be disseminating false and misleading information about itself and its business through online channels,” said the Dec. 6 notice. “The SFC notes that BitCuped claims on its website that ‘Laura Cha’ and ‘Nicolas Aguzin’ serve as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer respectively, when in fact none of them has any affiliations with BitCuped.”

Related: Hong Kong authorities say 145 victims, $18.9M lost in Hounax scam

According to the SFC, the “misleading” information related to HongKongDAO could encourage individuals to believe its services were “properly licensed and legitimate” and invest in the HKD token. The securities regulatory added that Cha and Aguzin were executives with the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong rather than connected to BitCuped.

In October, the SFC announced it planned to update its policies on digital currency sales and requirements, citing market developments and industry feedback. Starting in June 2024, exchanges operating within Hong Kong must have a virtual asset service provider license with the SFC.

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