“Fortune favors the brave,” says actor Matt Damon in an ad that can be seen these days on television and social networks. The American actor leads an international campaign on the Crypto.com platform dedicated to the sale and purchase of crypto assets. But that slogan carries serious risks, according to a report by mistery shopping carried out by the Association of Financial Users (Asufin). There are problems with advertising, contract conditions, customer service, complaints, commissions, skyrocketing volatility and other issues across five platforms (see chart).
Investing in cryptocurrencies is high-voltage and can cause large losses, although cryptoactive platforms praise through advertising, and in a generalized way, the opportunity to achieve rapid returns, ignoring high volatility and high investment risk. It is true that Asufin adds that the Spanish companies “Bit2Me and 2gether offer the Spanish consumer greater guarantees by operating under European and Spanish consumer protection regulations.”
The homeland platforms are also the fastest. Bit2me and 2gether facilitate operations in a maximum of 24 hours, Crypto.com and Coinbase in 48 hours and Binance, located in Hong Kong, does not give access until after 72 hours.
Asufin, through a mistery shopping (in which false clients collect information about the operation of a service, such as those carried out in the past by the CNMV), has subjected Binance, Crypto.com, Coinbase, as well as the Spanish Bit2Me and 2gether to an examination. The association notes some of the difficulties that investors may encounter in this sector. The details of the conclusions will be presented today at the Asufin Annual Congress.
Among the problems, the study points out that many of the platforms only offer their access conditions in English and it affects that this is usually the language chosen by many of the international platforms to execute any type of claim.
Asufin also considers that it is not easy for the consumer to compare the costs associated with each operation and the commissions that will be applied. The alerts from the CNMV and the Bank of Spain regarding investment in this type of product are constant, but the data reveal that the demand for these products continues to skyrocket.
Investing in crypto assets does not have a legal umbrella. It is expected, however, that early next year the European regulation for crypto assets and the platforms that operate with them, known as MICA (acronym for markets in crypto-assets).
Meanwhile, the only current obligation is for the platform to be registered with the Bank of Spain, designed with the exclusive objective of monitoring possible money laundering.
The platform chaired by Patricia Suárez has made an investment of 100 euros in bitcoins in the aforementioned firms with several key conclusions. Among them, that advertising is biased and can lead to confusion – they focus their ads on the internet, social networks and sporting events; Crypto.com has even started traditional television campaigns and is the official sponsor of numerous sports with a worldwide impact – that the information is usually in English (except in national firms), that arbitration is imposed and the client is submitted to the jurisdiction of the company (in Spanish, it is true, national legislation governs) and that all platforms use email, mobile, biometric and geolocation data to open the account and maintain it.
It also warns that it is not easy for the consumer to compare costs related to the operation and the commissions that will be applied and warns that the volatility of the investment is very high, as well as that several platforms “take advantage of communications to encourage the purchase of other products related to cryptocurrencies ”.