A cryptocurrency trading firm has been shut down after scamming investors.

PGI Global UK Ltd has been wound up by the High Court with the Official Receiver appointed liquidator of the company.

The company’s principal business activity was the provision of crypto trading packages, blockchain education and health products.

Despite conflicting accounts of the company’s trading activity provided by two former directors, it appears that the main business activity conducted by PGI was the sale and purchase of cryptocurrency.

Investors were promised returns of up to 200%. But when these did not materialise, investors were unable to withdraw the funds they had invested.

Three bank accounts were identified as operated by PGI and were used to receive approximately £612,425 from its would-be investors between July 2020 and February 2021.

Payments from the accounts included at least £195,000 paid to personal accounts, and a £10,000 payment to a luxury department store.

PGI is stated to be part of the Praetorian Group International Trading Inc. whose website has been seized by the US Department of Justice and US Department of the Treasury following a seizure warrant issued by the US District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia.

The company’s sole appointed director is Ramil Ventura Palafox, who lives in the USA. He did not cooperate with the Insolvency Service investigation.

The High Court agreed that closing down the company was in the public interest, given the lack of cooperation, failure to maintain, preserve and/or deliver up adequate accounting records, trading with a lack of commercial probity, and failure to comply with statutory obligations and lacking transparency.

“Individuals and businesses that operate under the protections afforded by limited liability are, as a consequence, required to comply with the requirements of the Companies Act,” said Mark George, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service.

“This case highlights that where we have reasonable concerns about the trading practices of a company the court will take a dim view of any failure to cooperate with a statutory enquiry and will wind up the company in the public interest.”

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UK public lack enthusiasm for the metaverse

A study has revealed that the UK public lacks enthusiasm for the metaverse, with privacy concerns paramount.

Only 28% of Brits are excited by the metaverse, with 36% saying they are not excited at all, the research from digital experience company Acquia revealed.

Despite hype and speculation from within the corporate world, Brits’ excitement is well below that of consumers in France (45%) and the US (34%).

Two-thirds of the UK population are not willing to pay anything to benefit from additional functionality in the metaverse, with the average amount that consumers are willing to pay £2.29. 

In contrast, French respondents would be willing to part with an average of £4.02, and US consumers would be willing to pay £2.90. 

UK consumers are most interested in new experiences (32%), which suggests that the specific features and use cases have not yet piqued the interest of the British public. Opportunities for learning (29%) and socialising in a virtual environment (23%) are the next most exciting features, with better workplace experiences and professional development rated the least interesting (16%). 

“The metaverse promises rich opportunities for marketers to deliver digital experiences that can create and strengthen consumer loyalty with the brand. However, our research suggests that there are still some pretty significant barriers that will need to be overcome before consumers can truly get excited”, said Tom Bianchi, VP corporate marketing at Acquia.

In terms of trust, 56% of UK consumers are at least somewhat concerned about data protection and privacy in the metaverse. Only 9% of the UK public have no concerns at all about these issues. 

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Cryptocurrency shorts

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is ‘very likely’ to create a stablecoin, CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told The Big Whale in an interview.

A Solana-based protocol is looking to ‘decentralise ride-sharing’.  TRIP protocol, which allows drivers and ride-sharing companies to compete for riders, has raised $9 million.

An identity verification startup for crypto users has raised $3.3m in a seed funding round. Bain Capital Crypto led the funding into Notebook Labs.

ServBlock, a blockchain and pharmaceutical compliance company, is collaborating with Microsoft’s Early Access Engineering programme to produce a novel business case for the use of NFT technology in meeting compliance standards.

Crypto prices

The overall market cap of the 21,500 coins is at $984 billion at the time of writing (7am UK), a 2.4% decrease in the last 24 hours.

For round-ups of recent cryptocurrency news developments, click here.

For valuations of the top 100 coins by market cap in US dollars, plus 24-hour price change, see below.