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FSCA warns the public against BitCoin Xpress

30 August 2021 The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA)

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) warns the public to be cautious when doing any financial services business with BitCoin Xpress (BTCoin Xpress). BTCoin Xpress is not authorised to render any financial advisory and/or intermediary services in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act No. 37 of 2002 (FAIS Act).

According to its website (https://btcoinxpress.com/), BTCoin Xpress is an international online broker that offers financial services in various financial instruments. The website claims that BTCoin Xpress has been around since 2013 and has processed more than 8 billion dollars in transactions and has happy customers in over 40 countries.

On its website, BTCoin Xpress also claims to be authorised and regulated by the FSCA under FSP number 46614. This incorrect and false as BTCoin Xpress is not authorised as a financial services provider. The FSP number 46614 belongs to ForexTime Ltd t/a FXTM (FXTM), an authorised FSP. The FSCA has contacted FXTM to establish whether there is a relationship between itself and BTCoin Xpress. FXTM has since confirmed that there is no relationship between itself and BTCoin Xpress.

It seems likely that BTCoin Xpress is conducting unauthorised financial services business and fraudulently using another FSP’s licence number of another entity.

Additionally, to legally operate in South Africa, BTCoin Xpress requires authorisation from the FSCA to conduct financial services business. The FSCA contacted BTCoin Xpress to obtain their view about the alleged relationship between itself and FXTM. BTCoin Xpress did not respond to the FSCA’s correspondence.

The website also claims that BTCoin Xpress is regulated and has authorisation in foreign countries i.e. by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission with FIC licence number 185/12, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom under licence number 600475, Mauritius Financial Services Commission (Mauritius FSC) under the investment dealer’s licence number C113012295 and by the UK Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 777911. The Mauritius FSC has already informed the FSCA that BTCoin Xpress is not authorised or regulated by the Mauritius FSC. Of importance however is that BTCoin Xpress still requires a South African licence to operate locally. A South African licence will subject BTCoin Xpress to codes of conduct that are designed to protect the investors against fraud and misconduct of any FSP.

Members of the public should always check that an entity or individual is registered with the FSCA to provide Financial Advisory & Intermediary Services and what category of advice it is that the entity is registered to provide. There are instances where persons are registered to provide basic advisory services for a low-risk product and then offer services of a far more complex and risky nature. The FSCA again reminds consumers who wish to conduct financial services with an institution or person to check beforehand with the FSCA on either the toll free number (0800 110 443) or on the website www.fsca.co.za as to whether or not such institution or person is authorised to render financial services, and in particular which financial products they are licensed for.

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