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<p>Illegal initial coin offerings (ICOs) have paid as much as a quarter of all fines and penalties levied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2020, according to a report recently published by the regulator.</p>
<p>In its <a href=annual report for 2020, the SEC said its enforcement arm had collected some $4.68 billion in penalties over the period, up 8% from $4.3 billion in the previous year. In particular, the report highlights the failed Telegram ICO as the highest single contributor, responsible for almost the full quarter of penalties paid, with a $1.2 billion liability.

The amount collected in 2020 represents a new record high for the agency, underlining the need for ongoing regulation and enforcement of ICOs and other token transactions.

The SEC commenced enforcement proceedings against some 715 entities over the report period, covering the full range of securities offenses, including market manipulation, unregistered offerings and insider trading.

Of the funds collected so far, the regulator said it has paid out $600 million directly to the victims of those subjected to the fines.

Illegal token sales accounted for a total of $1.26 billion in fines across eight different projects over the period, including Telegram, Kik, Bitclave, Shopin, NAC Foundation, Unikrn, Boon Tech, and Bitcoiin2Gen.

The most significant contributor to the fines, the Telegram ICO raised $1.7 billion from the sale of proprietary Gram tokens to accredited investors. The project attracted the glare of the SEC, resulting in legal action against Telegram for an unregistered securities offering, which eventually led to the project’s downfall.

The report also highlights the success of the regulator’s whistleblower scheme, which offers rewards for individuals identifying breaches of regulations. Over the period, $175 million was paid in rewards across 39 individual whistleblowers, according to the report.

See also: U.S. Rep. Darren Soto’s keynote talk at CoinGeek Live on Balancing Innovation & Regulation for Growth of Blockchain Technology

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_4eSkWesuU&feature=youtu.be

" title="Illegal ICOs pay quarter of SEC 2020 penalty haul" />
Business 16 November 2020

Illegal ICOs pay quarter of SEC 2020 penalty haul

In its annual report for 2020, the SEC said its enforcement arm had collected some $4.68 billion in penalties, up 8% from $4.3 billion in 2019.

<p>Pavel Durov does not intend to sell Telegram, in part or in full. The founder and CEO of the encrypted messaging service recently denied reports that he’s in talks with a Russian tech company. Durov also criticized the Trump administration regarding its stance against TikTok, claiming that the U.S. could “kill the internet.”</p>
<p>Durov’s statement came after a report by a Russian tech outlet claimed that he was in talks with Mail.ru to sell Telegram. The <a href=report by iXBT claimed that Telegram had been going through financial struggles after the failed TON blockchain project which regulators thwarted. Telegram’s tense relations with the Russian government also reportedly played a big part in the decision to sell.

Durov denied the rumors on his Telegram channel, stating, “We are not selling Telegram – neither in part, nor in full. This will always be our position.”

He revealed that he has been under pressure to sell Telegram for years to specific investors who are aligned to their governments. This is a struggle many global tech companies go through, he claimed, citing Uber’s sale of local operations in China and Russia to local investors.

“I am proud that, unlike Uber, we at Telegram have always declined offers to sell our operations in specific countries.”

This isn’t the first time that the Russian government has pressured Durov to sell a company he founded. In 2012, he came under intense pressure to sell his stake in VKontakte, a social media company he had founded. Just as with Telegram, he came at odds with the Russian government after he refused to allow it to access user details. He was eventually forced out, with Mail.ru buying his stake to become the sole owner.

In his Telegram post, Durov also attacked the Trump administration for its stance against video-sharing social media app TikTok. The U.S. government has fought TikTok fiercely, claiming its close ties to the Chinese government make it a security threat to the United States.

According to Durov, “the US move against TikTok is setting a dangerous precedent that may eventually kill the internet as a truly global network (or what is left of it).”

" title="Telegram is not for sale, founder says" />
Business 7 August 2020

Telegram is not for sale, founder says

Founder and CEO Pavel Durov has denied reports that he’s in talks with a Russian tech company to offload the embattled Telegram.

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