Trinidad and Tobago Government Warns Against “Digital Currency”

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Trinidad and Tobago government says it has not endorsed the use of “BarterCoin Exchange nor an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) here and warned the public to be extremely careful.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance said it has noted the recent international trend “of what is termed ‘digital currency’ and locally, the proposed launch of a BarterCoin Exchange and an Initial Coin Offering in Trinidad and Tobago.”

The statement says, “The Ministry of Finance advises the public that, it is not associated with, nor has it endorsed a BarterCoin Exchange nor an Initial Coin Offering (ICO).”

It said that the regulatory body for investments in Trinidad and Tobago, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), recently stated it has “not as of this date” approved any ICO.

“The ongoing offerings are unregulated and speculative investments, with considerable risk to the investor,” the Ministry of Finance said, quoting the SEC as indicating that further risks include heightened potential for fraud and “the fact that the products and those selling them may in some cases not be subject to regulation, [may] expose the investors to fraud.”

The Sec has also warned of cross-border distribution risks, “where the issuer may be operating the ICO from outside of the investor’s jurisdiction, therefore, following the money in the event of a collapse of the ICO as well as recovering invested funds, may prove extremely difficult [for the investor”.

It is also making reference to information asymmetry where ‘investors may not be able to understand the risks, costs and expired returns… arising from their investment” as well as “liquidity risks “ where “in some jurisdictions, cryptocurrency exchanges may also be unregulated and operate without oversight.

“Thus leaving investors vulnerable to dramatic price changes and possibility that they may not be able to exit their holdings (funds invested).”

The Ministry of Finance said that it should also be noted that the proposed BarterCoin Exchange, has not received the approval of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Based on the foregoing, the Ministry of Finance advises members of the public to exercise caution when engaging in any form of investment and when in doubt, seek the advice of the Regulatory Bodies – The Securities and Exchange Commission and/or the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago,” the statement added. – CMC

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