Finnish regulators tighten the screw on virtual currency marketing
Hot on the heels of the rising cryptocurrency hype, Finnish regulators have dropped a formal notice. On Nov. 24th, the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) stated:
“Only registered virtual currency providers can market virtual currencies and related services in Finland. The marketing of virtual currencies in Finnish and in Finland is only allowed for entities registered as virtual currency providers in Finland.”
Finland is a highly economically free country, ranking 17th in the Index for Economic Freedom. However, as LocalBitcoins CEO Sebastian Sonntag told Cointelegraph upon receiving their FSA license in 2019:
“The controls in the financial sector are of particularly high quality and the position of the clients is well protected.”
It appears that the FSA is keen to protect investors — particularly retail — who are more likely to be influenced by marketing activities. If the 2020–2021 bull runs’ meme mania is anything to go by, there will be more retail FOMO across the globe.
The FSA press release is a direct response to the rise in marketing of virtual currencies and related services across Finland. Finnish media observed increasing traffic for cryptocurrency articles, while in a recent editorial by mainstream outlet the Helsinki Times, writers concluded that crypto is trendy in Finland and will hold its popularity for years to come.
Elsewhere in Finland, local crypto adoption is brewing. Finnish esports company Elisa Esports announced a partnership with cryptocurrency firm Coinmotion to bolster the Nordic esports scene.
However, the list of Supervised Entities operating in the cryptocurrency and virtual currency space is still small. Less than 10 companies are registered, so the recent notice may be a nod toward future regulation and the evolving regulatory landscape.
Crucially, the FSA cannot advise on Finnish customers visiting foreign websites. Nor does the recent initiative affect advertising on international websites not explicitly targeted at Finnish citizens.
As a result, while regulators get to grips with the local market, Finnish crypto-advocates can continue to visit international crypto websites.