The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) of Austria believes that due to the spread of fraud with crypto assets, it is necessary to tighten the requirements for the cryptocurrency business.
According to the Austrian regulator, more than 60% of registered fraud cases in the country are related to cryptocurrencies. To attract gullible users, attackers use Telegram and TikTok, placing advertisements.
FMA employee Klaus Grubelnik said that the agency sees an urgent need for stricter control of the cryptocurrency industry. According to Grubelnik, the market was previously flooded with fraudulent offers of stocks and gold. Now, given the popularity of cryptocurrencies, ransomware is switching to them. In addition, the crisis and the pandemic also create conditions for the spread of fraudulent schemes with cryptocurrencies.
Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger called for a clear regulation of the cryptocurrency industry back in 2018 to prevent their use for illegal purposes. Leger’s statements came after the organizers of the Optioment Bitcoin cryptocurrency pyramid managed to extort about 12,000 BTC from the victims.
Despite the large number of cryptocurrency scams in Austria, traditional exchanges continue to host cryptocurrency products, contributing to the further adoption of digital assets. For example, last fall, the Vienna Stock Exchange Wiener Börse added support for exchange-traded products (ETP) on BTC and ETH for the first time. This is radically different from the situation in the United States, where trading in cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds is prohibited.
Last year, one of the largest Austrian mobile operators, A1 Payment, provided customers with the opportunity to pay for services with cryptocurrencies. In addition, in November 2020 The Technical University of Vienna has entered into a partnership with the Iota Foundation to conduct joint research on blockchain technology and the Internet of Things (IoT).