New Zealand authorities release warnings over potential forex markets, crypto scams

Chris Lee
flag of New Zealand

Regulatory bodies in New Zealand have warned investors away from three schemes in the foreign exchange and cryptocurrency spheres which they say may be unsafe to use.

The first scheme, WiseBanc, is a Bulgaria-registered organisation which describes itself on its website as a “simple & success-geared platform to trade the world’s biggest assets like EUR, USD”.

However, today, it was included by New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority (FMA) on its warnings list as it does not have the appropriate permissions to operate in the country.

Indeed, it’s unclear whether WiseBanc even has the right to operate in the other jurisdictions in which it has a presence.

“WiseBanc is not registered on the Financial Service Providers Register, it is therefore not permitted to provide financial services to New Zealand residents”, the FMA said.

“WiseBanc are based overseas with no presence in New Zealand and do not appear to be subject to regulation by an overseas regulator”, the body added.

It pointed out that concerns over WiseBanc had also been raised by regulatory authorities abroad, too.

“The UK Financial Conduct Authority and the Central Bank of Ireland have each recently published a public warning about WiseBanc”, it said.

It was a busy day for the New Zealand regulator, which also took the opportunity to warn investors off two cryptocurrency sites as well.

OneLife, which is also known as OneCoin, claims to be a cryptocurrency ecosystem.

However, they are described in a statement by the FMA as a possible scam with a marketing network of promotional meetings, high promised returns and more.

“We recommend extreme caution before investing with OneLife or OneCoin as we are concerned they bear the characteristics of a scam, including withholding client funds and promising unrealistic returns”, the FMA said.

It also pointed out that the Belize-based company might be breaking Kiwi law in other ways, too.

“We have received information indicating that OneLife and OneCoin are holding promotional events and seminars in New Zealand offering investment services in breach of New Zealand law.”

“If you have invested with OneLife or OneCoin we would like to hear from you. Please contact us on 0800 434 566 or by email [email protected]”, it added.

In the same statement, the body pointed out that there had been a large number of warnings recorded by various foreign regulators – including the Belgian, Finnish, German and many other authorities.

According to the FMA, the central bank of Samoa has even taken the step of blocking any transaction with a link to OneCoin.

This is not the first time that OneLife has been in trouble with the law. Earlier in the year, OneLife was accused of being part of a criminal group with links to money laundering.

At the time, it responded robustly. “Let it be clear to the public that the company has never been involved in criminal or illegal activities in any country or territory of operations, including in the Republic of Bulgaria”, it said in a statement.


Chris Lee

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