The Dutch Gaming Authority, Kansspelautoriteit, said in a Friday statement that cryptocurrency investment regulation does not fall under its purview. The gambling regulator also revealed that it had conducted extensive research to determine the essence of investing in cryptocurrencies, of the virtual currencies themselves, and of the technology that powers them.
The results of its research showed that investing in bitcoin and other existing cryptocurrencies cannot be considered a gambling activity under the Netherlands’ current gambling laws. The regulator further clarified that under current regulations, a game of chance involves an activity in which a person is competing for prizes and the outcome of that person’s participation in said activity depends strongly on chance. In addition to this, a person cannot have “a dominant influence” over the outcome of the activity.
Kansspelautoriteit’s stance on the matter came shortly after the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets’ (AMF) latest warning in relation to the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies, investing in these, and, particularly, the risks Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) present to cryptocurrency investors.
Cryptocurrency Concerns and Fears
Last year, the AMF issued a series of warnings and recommendations to cryptocurrency investors, the most recent of which came in November, when the financial markets watchdog warned of the risks ICOs could be hiding.
The AMF warned Dutch citizens, who planned to invest in ICOs, that the issue of digital tokens could be particularly vulnerable to fraud and manipulation. The regulator further pointed out that while it acknowledged the potential behind ICOs, it was suspicious of the way digital tokens are currently issued.
According to the AMF, the anonymous character of blockchain, the technology that powers bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, creates an environment in which fraudsters could thrive. Merel van Vroonhoven, Chairman of the financial watchdog, has previously pointed out that the high risk of fraud and loss of deposits, combined with the hype created by ICOs, could be a “dangerous cocktail”.
Last summer, the AMF issued a warning of the general risks that virtual currencies hide. Here it is important to note that, under current regulations, the financial watchdog does not have the power to regulate cryptocurrency investing.
The AMF warned of the risk of a financial bubble, after the price of bitcoin and a number of other virtual currencies increased exponentially over a very short period of time. The regulator said it believed that even a very small event, such as negative a piece of negative news, could burst the cryptocurrency bubble any time.
Bitcoin investors suffered quite a shock this past holiday season when the currency’s price plunged below $13,000 only days after it had rocketed to an all-time high of over $19,500. At time of writing, the virtual currency’s price stands at $13,746.
Robert Johnson is an experienced web author and blogger. He has over three years of experience as a freelance journalist and writer.