Cambodia`s General-Commissariat of the National Police, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia and the National Bank of Cambodia have jointly issued a formal  warning to domestic investors to refrain from any involvements in cryptocurrency-related transactions without the relevant licenses, less they will have to face the full rigor of the law.

 

In a recently released statement, authorities stated: “Any person or legal entity that propagates to mobilize funds, buys, sells, trades or settles Crypto Currencies without obtaining license from competent authorities shall be penalized in accordance with applicable laws.”

Ponzi scheme alert

Cambodian authorities have also admonished investors to be cautious in dealing in cryptocurrencies since in their view the volatility of such assets predispose them to possible losses. They also identified a couple of cryptocurrency-related risk factors including the frequency of hacking incidences and the lack of robust customer protection mechanisms.

 

Authorities singled out a couple of digital currencies Cambodian investors ought to be wary of because in their estimation, such cryptocurrencies are essentially Ponzy scheme. Digital currencies identified include K Coin , KH Coin, Suncoin, OneCoin and Forex Coin.

 

It will be recalled that in July 2017, investigations were launched into a Ponzy scheme in China which eventually resulted in charges being brought against 98 people involved in the supposed Ponzy scheme and their prosecution in May 2018. The process resulted in the recovery of well over $267 million dollars. This Ponzy scheme involving a cryptocurrency developed by Bulgarian national Ruja Ignatova is currently under investigations in countries such as United Kingdom, the United States, Ukraine, Canada, Italy and Ireland.

 

Reports show that in December 2017, the director general of the National Bank of Cambodia, Chea Serey had cause to publicly state that the nascent technology is illegal. This notwithstanding, speculations were rife that Cambodia will imitate Venezuela by launching its own cryptocurrency – national digital currency.

 

Is a national cryptocurrency on the horizon?

In March this year, news spread far and wide of an impending event in which Cambodia`s deputy prime minister, Men Sam An will be present to deliver the keynote address. Entapay, a company founded by Chinese businessmen was reportedly hosting this event, during which a “legal digital tender will be officially made public.

 

These reports were however flatly denied by both the National Bank of Cambodia and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Their response was swift and decisive as authorities insisted that a national digital currency was not being considered. A couple of cryptocurrency companies have in the past attempted to launch cryptocurrency in Cambodia. However, it appears that Entapay`s attempt to bring the state into the picture is the very first time a claim has been made of broad governmental support.

 

Blockchain technology enjoys wide acceptability and governmental approval in Cambodia, in spite of the harsh posture the National Bank of Cambodia and other regulators have taken on the issue of cryptocurrencies. A blockchain technology-related deal was sealed barely two months ago; this involved the National Bank of Cambodia and a Japanese company that is into the provision of blockchain technology solutions. This deal will ensure that a blockchain technology solution is developed for tracking inter-bank transactions.

 

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Images from Intrepid Travel and Ponzy Schemes.

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