Representatives of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are said to have been ‘disappointed’ by a settlement reached with Coinschedule.com in connection with undisclosed payments to promote digital tokens, after describing the outcome as “a missed opportunity” for clarifications for the sector.
The settlement found that the firm’s U.K.-based owners had indeed flouted anti-touting provisions under federal securities laws, with the company, Blotics Ltd., failing to disclose the money it had received from the digital token issuers it was promoting.
The website claimed to offer visitors tips on the best digital token offerings, including initial coin offerings and initial exchange offerings, describing its mission as “[making] it easy and safe for people around the world.”
But according to the SEC, Blotics “never disclosed to its platform visitors that it received compensation for doing so.”
The SEC demanded Blotics cease and desist from the actions, with the company agreeing to a fine of $154,000 in connection with the charges. Without admitting or denying the allegations, the company accepted the settlement, which also included a $47,000 payment for disgorgement.
The SEC order confirms that “digital tokens publicized by Coinschedule included those that were offered and sold as investment contracts, which are securities.”
Chief of the SEC’s cyber unit, Kristina Littman, said “the securities law prohibiting touting securities for compensation without appropriate disclosures to investors is clear and longstanding.”
SEC Commissioners Hester Peirce and Elad Roisman said they agreed the settlement was a clear violation of federal securities laws. However, they suggested settlement was a missed opportunity to offer further clarity on the distinctions between tokens which are securities, and are therefore governed by securities laws, and those that are not securities.
In a joint statement, the Commissioners said the agency should “at least be clear” about which types of offering fall within the SEC’s remit.
“Providing guidance piecemeal through enforcement actions is not the best way to move forward.”
Watch: SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce on Bitcoin Association’s Blockchain Policy Matters
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