Italy blocks domains of Vantage, Luno Invest and Crypto Trade

abdelaziz Fathi

Consob, the Italian securities regulator, has dropped the hammer on yet another number of FX websites it says were illegally promoting trading products in the country. It has contacted Italy’s internet service providers (ISPs), requesting that they block access to all of the sites in question.

This is part of an ongoing effort to protect Italian investors from potentially fraudulent or unauthorized investment schemes.

Italy’s proactive stance has been already serving as a model for other countries grappling with similar regulatory challenges, given the global nature of digital assets and online trading.

The watchdog added new domains to its register of banned internet sources for illegally promoting trading products in the country. Specifically, Italian investors have been warned not to take out any financial services from the companies incorporated in the latest round of blackouts. This includes:

– “Luno Invest” (website https://lunoinvest.net);

– Vantage Global Limited (website www.vantage-markets.com and related page https://secure.vantage-markets.com);

– “Capital4it Ltd” (website www.capital4it.io and related page https://panel.capital4it.io);

– Crypto Trade Club Ltd (website https://cryptotradeclub.ltd and related page https://cfd.cryptotradeclub.ltd)

– “Amlight-italiainvestment” (website www.amlight-italiainvestment.net).

The action has been supported by the ‘Decreto Crescita’ law allowing CONSOB to obstruct Italian investors’ access to online brokers. The regulators took similar action throughout the past few years, ordering nearly 1065 domains to be blocked.

This decree allows Consob to order Italian internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites operating illegally in the region. However, due to technical reasons, there can be a delay of several days before the black-out of these websites takes effect, especially if the websites temporarily shut down.

The websites that have been blacklisted by Consob offer trading in forex and CFDs, but the regulator has noted that some of these sites also deal with crypto assets, including both the underlying cryptocurrencies and related derivatives such as CFDs. This confirms that Consob is concerned about the potential risks and regulatory issues associated with crypto trading and wants to ensure that these platforms are in compliance with Italian financial regulations.

Earlier in 2023, Italy’s antitrust authority has fined the Israeli trading and multi-asset brokerage company eToro €1.3 million for misleading consumers about the true costs of its stock trading offering.

The Italian Competition Authority, AGCM, specifically accused eToro of promoting its stock trading platform as a zero-fee service. However, the social investment network failed to adequately inform users about costs associated with exchange rates and restrictions on transferring portfolios to other brokerage firms.

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