The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services published its Summer 2022 issue of Common Ground this week. The newsletter is available here, Common Ground Summer 2022 (oregon.gov). It includes an article about cryptocurrencies and NFTs and another about a lawsuit against Safeguard Metals, LLC and others that Oregon joined.
Regarding crypto and nonfungible tokens, DCBS writes that its Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) is “warning Oregonians to use caution when investing in cryptocurrencies, nonfungible tokens, or other new or volatile products.” And “[t]here are nearly 10,000 active cryptocurrencies and they and NFTs are increasing in popularity. Regulation of these new asset types is still evolving. While there are often promises of big returns consumers often lose money when investing in them.” According to DCBS, cryptocurrencies and digital assets topped the North American Securities Administrators Association’s (NASAA) annual list of top investor threats.
According to the article about the Safeguard Metals lawsuit, the Department joined the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and 26 state securities regulators in bringing claims against the precious metals dealer and its owner. The alleged scam involved $68 million taken from 450 investors, including eleven Oregon investors who were defrauded out of almost $3 million.
The Safeguard Metals article also includes a warning about self-directed IRAs. In our experience, metals dealers sometimes require investors to open a self-directed IRA to hold precious metals investments. DCBS explains, “[s]elf-directed IRAs should not be confused with traditional IRAs or other retirement vehicles. Self-directed accounts are placed with a custodian, but do not afford the investor any protections nor provide a review of the holdings or any valuations of the holdings in the account.”