Kuwait issues warning about cryptocurrencies and ICOs

The Capital Market Authority has joined numerous regulators around the world and told investors "to be very cautious" when dealing with digital assets

What has happened?

The regulatory authority of Kuwait has issued a warning to investors about dealing with digital assets, including cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

What does this mean?

In an announcement, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) told investors "to be very cautious" about investing in digital currencies or participating in ICOs.

"Due to the rise of different marketing campaigns for investing in cryptocurrencies and digital asset, the CMA would like to warn investors to be aware and recognize the risks associated with investing in these products," the CMA said.

Echoing similar warnings from other regulators around the world, the CMA listed some the key risks in respect of cryptocurrencies and ICOs, including lack of investor protection, price fluctuation and volatility, the risk of losing the funds invested because of cyber attacks or fraudulent activities.

It also warned that the information and documents available in respect of ICOs may be misleading and inaccurate and may not be subject to the oversight of a regulatory authority.

"Such investments are usually issued by entities operating outside the state of Kuwait, where they might be subject to foreign laws and regulations that cannot be insured, therefore making it difficult to track or recover the invested funds in the event of default or failure of the issuance instrument’s/digital currencies," it added.

The regulator also said that cryptocurrencies are "highly exposed to risks" and do not have a legal status.

They are also not supported by any government and since they might be operating on platforms based outside Kuwait, this makes it hard to verify their credibility.

Ultimately, the CMA said, "the investor must be aware and understand the risks associated with such investments, and take full responsibility for his investment decisions".

Next steps

If you want to take advantage of blockchain's huge potential and disruptive impact, while avoiding falling foul of ever-developing regulatory and legal requirements, visit our Hogan Lovells Engage Blockchain Toolkit.

John Salmon


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