As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, unfortunately, so do cryptocurrency scams. While it may seem that digital currency operates in a sort of 'wild west', there are indeed laws and regulations at both the federal and state level that provide protections against cryptocurrency scams.
Federal Regulations Against Cryptocurrency Scams
At the federal level, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) all have rules and regulations that can be applied to cryptocurrency scams.
Cryptocurrencies that qualify as securities fall under the purview of the SEC. The SEC has taken action against several Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) that were conducted fraudulently, using regulations designed to protect investors from securities fraud.
Similarly, the CFTC has jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies considered commodities. It has prosecuted cases of fraudulent trading schemes involving Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Furthermore, the FTC, which protects consumers from unfair and deceptive trade practices, has also filed lawsuits against several cryptocurrency scams. These entities are not afraid to pursue legal action against domestic or international operations if U.S. citizens are victims.
Missouri State Regulations Against Cryptocurrency Scams
While Missouri does not have laws specifically addressing cryptocurrency scams, it does have robust securities laws. The Missouri Securities Division, within the Office of the Secretary of State, is responsible for protecting Missouri investors from fraud and unfair practices.
The Division can investigate complaints about investment fraud, including cryptocurrency scams, and has the authority to file civil or administrative actions against violators. Additionally, victims may have the option to bring private lawsuits against the scammers.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Cryptocurrency Scams
If you are a victim of a cryptocurrency scam, it's important to report it to the appropriate law enforcement and regulatory agencies. These can include your local police, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), and the aforementioned federal regulatory bodies.
While the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrency presents novel challenges for regulation, it is crucial to understand that there are existing laws at both the federal and Missouri state level to protect against cryptocurrency scams. Recognizing the signs of potential scams, understanding your legal protections, and knowing what steps to take if you fall victim to a scam can make the world of cryptocurrency a safer place for all.