A blockchain startup that sought to change the current advertising model has agreed to refund its investors and close down operations. BitClave PTE Ltd settled its case with the Securities and Exchanges Commission, agreeing to pay a penalty and destroy its tokens.
The San Jose, California-based startup conducted an ICO in 2017, raising $25.5 million, the SEC revealed in a press release. It sold its Consumer Activity Token (CAT) to 9,500 investors. It claimed to use the funds to develop a blockchain-powered consumer advertising platform.
In a cease and desist order, the SEC claimed that the startup sold CAT tokens as investment contracts which made them count as securities. “BitClave emphasized an expectation that the price of CAT would appreciate,” the SEC states.
On its whitepaper, the startup claimed that as more service providers joined its ads platform, “the amount of CATs required for an equivalent service will gradually decrease, corresponding to a CAT value increase.” This gave the entrepreneurs an expectation that they would obtain profits if BitClave succeeded in its marketing efforts.
In doing so, the company violated securities laws, the SEC alleged.
In its settlements with the SEC, BitClave agreed to refund the $25.5 million it raised from investors. It shall also pay $3.4 million in prejudgment interest and $400,000 in penalties. The SEC will establish a Fair Fund that will see to the distribution of the money to the investors.
BitClave also agreed to transfer the 1.32 billion CAT tokens in its possession to a fund administrator for permanent destruction. The tokens were available for trading on a dozen platforms three years ago, but the company’s legal issues have seen all but one delist it. CAT is only available on YoBit exchange according to CoinMarketCap. Its market cap stood at $95,000 at press time.
As part of the agreement, BitClave must request any digital currency exchange that lists its CAT token to delist it immediately.
Just recently, the SEC’s court battle against one of the largest ICO issuers of all time, Telegram, came to an apparent end. Telegram dropped an appeal to a previous ruling in favor of the regulator that halted its token sale. In yet another win for the regulator, a U.S court approved its emergency freeze against assets owned by Meta 1 Coin, a scam project with links to a former Washington state senator.
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