A quarter of the scams handled by the Financial Markets Authority concern crypto-assets

For the first time, the mediator of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) devotes part of his annual report to complaints received in 2021 concerning crypto-assets.

The mediator of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), watchdog for disputes relating to financial products between consumers and financial institutions, published his annual report on April 20 concerning the year 2021. Complaints were particularly numerous in 2021 , with nearly 2,000 referrals, or 33% more than the previous year. And for the first time, part of the report is dedicated to crypto-assets.

“The reconversion of Forex scammers (foreign exchange market, editor’s note) to crypto-assets, observed in previous years, is clearly confirmed this year”, explains the AMF. It thus indicates that a quarter of the 78 fraud cases received in 2021 relate to fraudulent investments in cryptocurrencies – compared to around 6% of the cases received in 2020 – or to investments in crypto-asset derivatives.

“The analysis of files relating to digital assets does not make it possible to deduce a profile of socio-professional category or significant age of the applicants, thus demonstrating that these assets arouse the interest of a varied public”, specifies the authority. The average loss per claimant is €4,200, with losses of up to €20,000 for some investors.

Lack of public awareness of these new active ingredients

Problem: Few crypto-asset cases fall within the jurisdiction of AMF mediation. Disputes concerning digital asset service providers (PSAN) cannot be examined by it if the said financial intermediaries offering the investment in crypto-assets are not registered with the AMF. The latter publishes the list of registered and approved PSANs on its website. Thirty-six companies have been approved by the AMF, enabling them to canvass French consumers.

Witnessing the public’s lack of knowledge about these new assets, out of the 44 cases received invoking a dispute with a PSAN, only six involving PSANs registered with the AMF were able to be handled by mediation. In most cases, it is the consumers who approached the platforms and the mediator is competent only in the opposite case, that is to say if a professional has approached the saver directly.

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