The European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, ESMA and EIOPA – the ESAs) today warn consumers that many crypto-assets are highly risky and speculative. The ESAs set out key steps consumers can take to ensure they make informed decisions.
This warning comes in the context of growing consumer activity and interest in crypto-assets and the aggressive promotion of those assets and related products to the public, including through social media.
In their warning, the ESAs highlight that these assets are not suited for most retail consumers as an investment or as a means of payment or exchange, as consumers:
- face the very real possibility of losing all their invested money if they buy these assets;
- should be alert to the risks of misleading advertisements, including via social media and influencers; and
- should be particularly wary of promised fast or high returns, especially those that look too good to be true.
The ESAs also warn consumers that they should be aware of the lack of recourse or protection available to them, as crypto-assets and related products and services typically fall outside existing protection under current EU financial services rules.
In relation to the current situation in Ukraine, and with a view to ensuring the proper implementation of the sanctions in place, the ESAs welcome the clarification by the Council of the European Union of the scope of the restrictive measures against Russian and Belarusian entities and individuals as regards crypto-assets.