New Zealand Issues Warning About Three Cryptocurrency-Related Scams

  • New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority has added three “suspected scams” to their Warnings & Alerts list.
  • Cryptogain, Russ Horn, and Zend Trade are the companies in question that the government wants citizens to stay away from.

Earlier today, New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA) added three new companies to its list of “suspected scams.” The three companies are Zend Trade, Cryptogain, and Russ Horn (also known as Forex Equinox). These three companies have been added to the New Zealand FMA’s “Warnings & Alerts” list. This list is an ongoing effort by the New Zealand government to help investors avoid putting their money into the hands of questionable people.

The three companies were labeled as “Suspected Scams,” which means: “We think the operations of the business/person bear the hallmarks of a scam. We strongly recommend that you do not deal with them.” The full list of warnings & alerts can be found here.

CryptoGain appears to be a scam similar to BitConnect, promising daily returns for their investors. On their website, CryptoGainLimited.com, they offer up to 2.6% daily returns for people who invest in their company. Additionally, they offer cloud mining packages (with 30% weekly returns) and a retirement plan (giving “30% profit after retirement”). Such sky-high returns will set off alarms for many investors, as well as their cloud mining offering, which is currently considered an unregistered security in the United States.

In addition, the FMA has identified that CryptoGain is possibly posing as a fake company. There is a company filed as CryptoGainLimited, but it is not related to the company described above. Therefore, the FMA believes this is likely not legitimate.

The other companies - Russ Horn, Forex Equinox, and Zend Trade - are all suspected to be organized under Russ Horn’s leadership. RussHorn.com and ForexEquinox are not scams in the sense that they will take your money - they seem to simply be exaggerated marketing pitches for Russ’ forex trading system.

His website offers a “free plus shipping” book. Although not a scam in the sense of failed project BitConnect, Russ Horn’s website does include some outlandish claims, including “How To Legally Cheat The Forex Markets And Literally Line Your Pockets With Cash.”

ForexEquinox.com claims that his system can “double your money every 30 days.”

Ongoing Suspicions

Zend Trade has been suspected of being a scam after it was found that Zend is not returning clients funds. Unlike ForexEquinox, which teaches people how to trade, ZendTrade offers “Managed Account Services.” This service means that ZendTrade will hold clients' money and trade for them, which could put them under regulatory scrutiny, since this service sounds much more like a hedge fund. FMA claims that this company is connected to Russ Horn.

Coinbase Preparing for Stock Market Listing as Early as This Year: Report

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has reportedly started preparing for a stock market listing that could come as early as this year.

The move would make Coinbase the first major U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange to go public, but the listing would require the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) blessing. According to Reuters, one source claimed the exchange is considering a direct listing instead of a traditional initial public offering (IPO).

While in an IPO new shares are created, underwritten and sold to the public, in a direct listing no new shares and created and only outstanding shares are sold, with no underwriters involved. Reuters quoted three people familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because the listing preparations are reportedly confidential.

Coinbase has not yet registered its intention to go publish with the SEC, but has already reached out to investment banks and law firms. The cryptocurrency exchange was valued at $8 billion in its latest private fundraising round in 2018.

It was founded in 2012 and now has over 35 million users, allowing them to trade various cryptoassets both on its Coinbase platform and on the Coinbase Pro platform. It also has multiple other services, including Custody, Commerce, and Earn.

The San Francisco-based firm’s bitcoin holdings are estimated to now be over 1 million BTC, as users deposit funds on it over time. Last month Coinbase revealed it suffered outages after seeing its traffic spike significantly in a few minutes, as the price of most cryptocurrencies moved abruptly.

As CryptoGlobe reported, CryptoCompare’s June 2020 Exchange Review showed Coinbase was the third-largest top tier crypto exchange by trading volume in May, trading $6.86 billion worth of crypto throughout the month, falling behind OKEx and Binance.

Featured image via Unsplash.