Scams reported to the AMF related to cryptocurrencies increased in France in 2021

According to the AMF mediator, cryptocurrencies would be linked to a quarter of the scams reported in 2021, compared to 6% the previous year.

The mediator of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has unveiled his 2021 report, detailing the cases and disputes handled on the financial markets. The organization specifies that it has received 78 files, presenting damage ranging from 169 euros to 337,000 euros. According to this report, cryptocurrencies constitute a quarter of fraudulent files in 2021, compared to 6% in 2020.

“The reconversion of Forex scammers to crypto-assets, observed in previous years, is clearly confirmed this year. A quarter of the files received in 2021 relate to fraudulent investments in crypto-currencies (compared to around 6% of the files received in 2020) or to investments in derivatives on crypto-assets. In addition, a quarter of the files received concern investments made on trading platforms domiciled in exotic countries, even perfectly fictitious”, underlines the report.

The AMF mediator also highlighted a new type of dispute “related to digital assets”, particularly when it comes to players whether or not they come under the PSAN regime (service providers for digital assets) issued by the Financial Markets Authority (AMF). In particular, the report clarifies the distinction between PSAN registration and approval.

“PSANs that provide the services of custody on behalf of third parties or of access to digital assets: of buying or selling digital assets in legal tender; of exchanging digital assets for other digital assets; operating a digital asset trading platform, must, before exercising their activity, register with the AMF if they are established in France. or if they provide, at their initiative, these services in France. Furthermore, only service providers established in France may, with a view to providing, as a usual profession, one or more services on digital assets, seek approval from the AMF. This approval then allows them to to practice canvassing.”

44 files invoking a dispute with a PSAN

In the context of files related to cryptocurrencies, the AMF mediator also points out that:

“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. The average damage per applicant is of 4,200 euros, with losses of up to 20,000 euros for some investors”, specifies the report.

While to date 28 players have obtained PSAN registration, none is currently approved by the AMF. As part of its annual report, the mediator points out that it received 44 files invoking a dispute with a PSAN, of which “only six files involving PSANs registered with the AMF could be handled by mediation.” The mediator says he is notably incompetent in the context of cases if “said financial intermediaries offering investment in crypto-assets are not registered with the AMF.”

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