Reliance Jio denies involvement in so-called JioCoin

Indian telco says it has nothing to do with cryptocurrency looking to trade on its name.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

In what will fail to be a shock for watchers of the cryptocurrency scene, it appears that a bunch of dodgy people might be doing dodgy stuff, again.

This time the victim is upstart Indian telco Reliance Jio, which overnight denied it was involved with a digital currency called JioCoin.

"There are no such apps offered by the company or its affiliates/associates," the company said in a statement. "Any such apps using the JioCoin name are fake and people are advised to refrain from dealing with any of them."

"Reliance Jio takes a serious note of such fraudulent attempts by unscrupulous persons to misguide the public in the name of Jio and reserves the right to take appropriate legal recourse."

Despite being seemingly headed to the moon, cryptocurrencies have come under fire of late.

Earlier this week, Facebook said it was cracking down on advertisements of financial products that are often used to scam users, and that meant initial coin offerings (ICOs), cryptocurrencies, and binary options.

"We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception," Facebook product management director Rob Leathern said at the time.

A recent report from Ernst & Young said over 10 percent of all funds exchanged during ICOs are finding their way into the hands of criminals. This works out to roughly $400 million in cryptocurrency from $3.7 billion in funding between 2015 and 2017.

Earlier this week, Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck had the equivalent of $530 million of NEM coins stolen. Coincheck said at the time that it would return around 90 percent of the stolen coins with internal funds.

After mulling over whether it would shut down all cryptocurrency exchanges, South Korea announced last week it would only allow authenticated bank accounts for virtual currency trading.

Other countries have progressively imposed know your customer and anti-money laundering requirements on digital currencies.

"The threat of serious financial crime is constantly evolving, as new technologies emerge and criminals seek to nefariously exploit them," Australian Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said when introducing the requirements in August. "These measures ensure there is nowhere for criminals to hide."

Earlier this month, in its second set of broken out financials, Reliance Jio posted its first quarterly net profit since kicking off its service in September 2016.

For the company's third quarter, the telco posted net profit of 504 crore rupees, almost $79 million, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of 2,628 crore rupees, approximately $412 million, from operating revenue of 6,879 crore rupees, or just over $1 billion.

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