The Monetary Authority of Macau has issued a notice warning about cryptocurrency risks after U.S. media reported that Macau Dragon Group, a cryptocurrency company associated with a reputed gangster, has a business relationship with Cambridge Analytica, the British data firm that leaked personal information of more than 87 million Facebook users.
Cambridge Analytica promoted Dragon Coin, a new virtual currency created by Macau Dragon Group to help gamblers transfer money to Macau casinos, according to the report. Macau Dragon Group was associated with Wan Kuok-koi, a gangster known as Broken Tooth when he led the infamous 14K gang in Macau.
"Media has reported that a Macau company was involved in an ICO recently. Monetary Authority of Macau reminds all Macau residents that cryptocurrencies are virtual products, but not legal currencies or financial tools. Residents should be aware of fraud and criminal activities associated with cryptocurrencies," the regulator said on its website.
It added, “Monetary Authority of Macau reiterates that any institution providing regulated financial services such as currency exchange, cross-border fund transfer and financial exchange platforms without permission violates relevant provisions of the Financial System Act."
The Macau regulator forbids banks and payment institutions from direct or indirectly involvement in providing financial services for cryptocurrency exchanges. However, there are no rules restricting ICO activities by the private sector in the former Portuguese colony.
Last September, Chinese authority banned companies issuing ICOs, saying new projects raising cash and other virtual currencies through cryptocurrencies were not allowed. In the same month, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission warned investors that tokens issued via ICO may be classified as securities, and said the SFC is “concerned about an increase in the use of ICOs to raise funds in Hong Kong and elsewhere”.