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Maryland joins nationwide crypto crackdown initiative ‘Operation Cryptosweep’

Thu, 15 Aug 2019, 09:20 am UTC

The Attorney General of Maryland has announced that the state is participating in the “Operation Cryptosweep” initiative.

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) launched Operation Cryptosweep in May 2018. NASAA members from more than 40 jurisdictions throughout North America have participated in the initiative to date.

The initiative has resulted in more than 330 inquiries and investigations and at least 85 enforcement actions related to initial coin offerings (ICOs) or cryptocurrency investment products. 35 enforcement actions have been completed by state and provincial securities regulators in the U.S. and Canada so far this year.

According to a press release dated August 14, the Maryland Securities Division is now participating in Operation Cryptosweep. It has initiated an enforcement action against a Bitcoin trading platform, which led its investors to believe they could earn as much as 150% through passive investments, and a Maryland resident who sold investments in the trading platform.

"Cryptocurrency investments are risky. Investors should be extra cautious when dealing with promoters who claim their offering does not have to be registered with securities regulators," said Attorney General Brian E. Frosh.

"Quick returns of 150% are as rare as Bigfoot. Make sure to do independent research the product before you invest. Be aware of the risks, and contact the Maryland Securities Division with any concerns before parting with your hard-earned money."

NASAA President and Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph P. Borg had previously said that while not every cryptocurrency-related investment offer is a fraud, it is important for individuals and firms selling these products to understand they could be subject to state and provincial laws or regulations, especially securities laws.

Just recently, New Jersey signed the 'blockchain initiative task force' bill into law. The task force will explore the risks and benefits of using blockchain and distributed ledger technology. It also aims to study public blockchain, private blockchain, and consensus algorithms.

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