Many hands choosing cryptocurrency coins from box labeled ICO

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has launched two cryptoasset educational initiatives as part of its activities for Financial Literacy Month, the commission announced Thursday. aims to give investors an overview of cryptoproducts and services, including their regulatory status, and due diligence tips. mimics what a typical fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) website may look like to help those interested in this type of capital raising tool identify potential red flags.

The hype surrounding the ICO market, combined with poor investor knowledge, “provides fertile ground for fraudsters” to exploit retail investors, the OSC says in a news release. According to the commission’s research, 5% of adults in Ontario, or about 500,000 investors, already own cryptoassets.

“At the OSC we’re committed to fostering innovation in the financial sector while at the same time helping protect investors from potential fraud and ensuring they consider both the opportunities and risks when buying cryptoassets,” says Tyler Fleming, director of the OSC’s Investor Office, in a statement. “These initiatives help investors better understand cryptoasset products and services as well as be on the alert for any potential red flags before making a purchase.”

Although the OSC is warning investors about the risks of crypto markets, the commission stresses that it recognizes the potential for underlying blockchain technology to make markets more efficient and transparent.