Regulatory Authorities Issue Warning on Use of Digital Currencies

Dennis Wafula

January 30, 2019

With the increasing demand for virtual transactions and virtual assets such as cryptocurrencies, regulators are taking a keen eye on the industry. The developments has brought varied responses from regulators across the globe in a lot of different areas including exchanges, trading and mining of crypto currencies, crowd funding, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), and financial products.

Global regulators are divided on how to keep up with the fast growing cryptocurrency industry. Because most virtual currencies are not backed by any central government, each country has varying standards. While other countries have open heartedly welcomed the use of virtual currencies, others have really come hard on it.

A Warning Issue to the Trinidad and Tobago Nationals

Just recently, the regulatory authorities issued a warning to the Trinidad and Tobago nationals who are conducting transactions in virtual currencies or are investors in the same, urging them to be careful of various schemes promising high returns. The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT), the Tobago and Trinidad Securities (TTSE) and the Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (FIU) clearly stated that virtual currencies do not have legal tender status in Trinidad and Tobago, this is despite the fact that the authorities recognize that investing in digital currencies can promise a lot of benefits.

According to a publication from TV 6, the authorities said that;

‘’Providers of virtual currencies are neither regulated nor supervised by the authorities at present and there are currently no legislative provisions under the authorities’ purview that provide protection to consumer for losses arising from the usual of virtual currencies.’’

A Positive Outlook

This seems to be a good thing as the authorities are additionally warning users about the risks that come along with unregulated virtual currency companies. They warn that; ‘’ unregulated virtual currency companies may lack appropriate internal control and may be more susceptible to fraud and theft than regulated financial institutions.” Also, the authorities warn users that because of the currency’s high volatility, they can be unsuitable for most investors especially those looking for long term invesrments.

According to the authorities, transactions involving virtual currencies are usually anonymous and can therefore quite easily be associated with money laundering, terrorism financing or other criminal activities. The authorities however promise to continue monitoring activities that involve the use of these currencies.

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