Dutch financial sector watchdog wants to ban bitcoin investment schemes

Bitcoin mining. Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Dutch financial services watchdog AFM would support a ban on the online speculation in the rise or fall in price of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

AFM chairwoman Merel van Vroonhoven says in Wednesday’s Volkskrant that investing is beginning to resemble online gambling and gaming.

‘Financial products based on cryptocurrencies and binary options – which are extremely risky products – are being sold to consumers using seductive techniques that we know from gaming and the online gambling industry,’ she said.

In particular, youngsters are hard to reach about the dangers and regard the people making them as dinosaurs, she said. But there is a real risk that youngsters will no longer see the difference between gaming and bitcoins, she told the VK.

The AFM says that figures from October indicate 135,000 people in the Netherlands now have investments in cryptocurrencies, double the total a year ago.

While the AFM can’t ban cryptocurrencies, it can take action against investment schemes which are based on them, the paper said.