FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2018
CONTACT: Katie Strickland
CFO Jimmy Patronis Launches Campaign Plan to Bring Transparency to Cryptocurrency in Florida
TALLAHASSEE, FL– Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis today announced a campaign policy for cryptocurrencies in Florida that would lead to greater transparency, in light of the rapid growth of the currency in the state and the potential for Florida citizens, especially seniors, to be defrauded by illegitimate crypto schemes.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Many of our citizens rely on their investment or retirement accounts for their income and cryptocurrencies continue to grow and attract more investment from our state. I am committed to making the necessary rule and legislative changes in the 2019 legislative session to ensure we are tracking the cryptocurrency companies based in Florida and that we are regularly informing the public of any crypto scammers or law breakers.
“Just recently, more than 40 jurisdictions throughout North America participated in ‘Operation Cryptosweep’ which resulted in at least 70 investigations, of which 35 are pending or closed cases. This included a cease and desist letter sent from the Alabama Security Commission to a company based in Miami. According to regulators in Alabama, Platinum Coin from Miami was selling itself to investors by pitching unrealistic promises of a 320 percent return.
“Further, in a recently released study by a University of Texas at Austin professor, Bitcoin prices may have artificially risen last year because of price manipulation fraud. Over half of all U.S. financial fraud victims are over the age of 70. We must bring the disinfecting light of transparency to the cryptocurrency industry in Florida by requiring those that are Florida-based to register with the Office of Financial Regulation.
“I will lead the charge to ensure we are rooting out fraudulent actors in this industry and issuing regular consumer alerts to the public by immediately putting notifications online and alerting the media when a cryptocurrency scam has been identified. We already have a public notification system when there is an environmental spill or disaster. We must take similar measures to aggressively notify the public, and especially our seniors and others living off of investment income (which could be diverted into a cryptocurrency) about any scammers as we become aware of them.”
CFO PATRONIS’ CYRPTOCURENCY TRANSPARENCY PLATFORM
● Require any cryptocurrency company based in Florida to register with the Office of Financial Regulation so their presence is tracked at the state level.
● Require the regular public notification to Florida citizens concerning any cryptocurrency scheme that has been identified or is being prosecuted, even if the prosecution originates from another state but still involves Florida-based firms.
THE GROWTH OF CRYPTOCURRENCY IN FLORIDA
● Bitcoin ATMs now exist all across Florida, totaling more than 170.
● In December last year, a real estate transaction was conducted entirely in Bitcoin.
● The Tax Collector in Seminole County announced it will now accept Bitcoin as payment.
VOLATILITY OF CRYPTOCURRENCY AS AN INVESTMENT
Cryptocurrencies have seen massive volatility in the short time they have been available to the general public for purchase. This year, the cryptocurrency market alone has lost more than half of its value.
For example, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), similar to a company offering stock to the public, but with less clear investment rights, have seen tremendous volatility over the last few years:
● In 2016, ICOs raised $256 million from investors.
● In 2017, ICOs grew to $5.5 billion raised from investors.
● So far in 2018, ICOs have raised over $9 billion.
Criminals are able to use cryptocurrency to finance operations across the globe through more than 9,500 crypto-exchanges.
Drug dealers are using bitcoin to finance the deadly wave of fentanyl flooding into the country from overseas.
State and Provincial Securities Regulators Conduct Coordinated International Crypto Crackdown. (May 21, 2018). Retrieved from http://www.nasaa.org/
Five Firms Hit by ‘Crypto-Sweep’ in Alabama as Regulators Step up Operation. (May 29, 2018). Retrieved from https://news.bitcoin.com/
Griffin, John M., and Amin Shams. (June 13, 2018). Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered? Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/
O’Connell, Brian. (December 22, 2017). How to Stop Fraudsters From Preying on Elderly Americans. Retrieved from https://www.thestreet.
Bitcoin ATMs in Florida, United States. Retrieved from https://coinatmradar.com/
Rodriguez, Rene. (January 26, 2018). Bitcoin is booming in Miami. But can you buy a house with it? Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.
Gillespie, Ryan. (May 14, 2018). Seminole Tax Collector Joel Greenberg begins accepting bitcoin as payment. Retrieved from http://www.
Kuznetsov, Nikolai. (February 16, 2018). A Dazzling History of Bitcoin’s Ups and Downs. Retrieved from https://cointelegraph.
Gough, Owen. (June 13, 2018). Cryptos PLUNGE today – why are Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereal down? Retrieved from https://www.express.co.
Lichfield, Gideon. (April 23, 2018). The problem with ICOs is that they’re called ICOs. Retrieved from https://www.
Oscar Williams-Grut, Business Insider. (June 5, 2018). A startup just closed a huge $4 billion ICO — but the crypto fundraising method is ‘absolutely and unequivocally slowing down.’ Retrieved from http://www.
Cryptocurrency: The Challenge of Regulation. Retrieved from https://www.
Mui,Ylan. (April 13, 2018). How bitcoin is fueling America’s opioid crisis. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/
Disclaimer: Paid by Jimmy Patronis, Republican, for Chief Financial Officer.