Investor Alert: Cryptocurrencies


The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) has noticed an increase in the number of cryptocurrency offerings involving an initial coin offering (ICO) or initial token offering (ITO).


Companies may use cryptocurrency offerings to raise capital or to advance a project or a business, by issuing newly invented coins or tokens through an ICO or ITO. In many cases, these coins and tokens are securities. If they are securities, the company, and associated individuals, conducting the ICO or ITO must comply with securities law.


British Columbia residents should exercise extreme caution when considering whether to invest in a cryptocurrency offering. While some companies follow through on their business plan or idea, others do not. Some companies issue coins or tokens solely for speculative trading in the secondary market, which is an inherently risky activity for investors.


The BCSC urges anyone who has received an unsolicited offer to participate in an ICO or ITO to contact the BCSC inquiries line at 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393.


The BCSC takes a proactive approach to help protect B.C. investors by publishing an Investment Caution List, which identifies unregistered activity and unqualified securities promoted in British Columbia. The BCSC relies on information from the public and other agencies to identify new entries to the list.

For information on how to become better informed about investment products and services, please visit



Operation Cryptosweep


The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) today announced its participation in an international crackdown on fraudulent Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency-related investment products. The work is being coordinated by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which the BCSC is a member.


As part of “Operation Cryptosweep,” the BCSC has issued letters to 12 offshore companies that advertise their ICOs in B.C. or allow B.C. residents to participate in their ICOs. The BCSC has asked them to cease their activities in B.C. and to resume after they ensure compliance with B.C. law. 



Contact the BC Securities Commission


We welcome questions, comments, and tips related to the securities industry in B.C. If you need to speak to someone in person, please contact BCSC Inquiries.



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British Columbia Securities Commission

701 West Georgia Street

P.O. Box 10142, Pacific Centre

Vancouver, BC V7Y 1L2