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.

As Tether Premium Disappears, Bitfinex and Ethfinex Launch New IEO Platform: Tokinex

Avi Rosten

Prominent exchanges Bitfinex and Ethfinex have announced a new IEO (Initial Exchange Offering) platform.

The new platform, Tokinex, allows users to participate in pre-vetted token sales from new projects listing on the site. In a departure from other similar offerings such as Binance Launchpad, token issuers on Tokinex don’t have to pay any upfront fees for listing, while successful launches on the platform will also benefit from listing on both Bitfinex and Ethfinex.

The new exchange also utilizes the KYC service from Blockpass, which allows customers to complete KYC verification but without storing data on the exchange. The first token sale will be announced on May 23rd, with the sale taking place on 13th June.

Will Harborne, founder of Ethfinex, told CryptoGlobe:

Tokinex has been several months in development, incorporating feedback, testing and learning to reach a quality level users have come to expect at Bitfinex and Ethfinex. It has been carefully crafted to put the user experience front and centre, from incorporating Block Pass for KYC that is easy to use and does not store personal data, to being able to contribute existing assets directly from the user’s own wallet, rather than having to purchase a native platform token to participate.

IEOs in 2019

This latest platform from Bitfinex adds to the growing list of IEO platforms that have followed Binance, including OKEx, Huobi and Bittrex.

For Bitfinex, the news comes in the aftermath of fraud allegations in April from the New York Attorney General against Bitfinex and Tether, over alleged losses of over $850 million. However, the Tether Risk Premium, - a measure of how much the market believes Tether to be riskier than its underlying USD - has since almost completely disappeared, suggesting that investors at the moment have little concern over Tether’s value.

This is likely due to restored investor confidence in Bitfinex and Tether, after Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino revealed on May 13th that the company had raised $1 billion in a private token sale. The chart below shows the impact of the announcement - with the premium on the BTC price on the Bitfinex Exchange narrowing to zero following several weeks where bitcoin was trading above its spot price.

Bitfinex Premium Narrows