North American agency cracks down on over 200 ICO, crypto cases
The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) said it had more than 200 active investigations regarding initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other cryptocurrency-related products.
In a press release, the agency said that its ‘Operation Cryptosweep,’ which began last May, had already resulted in 46 “enforcement actions.”
“While not every ICO or cryptocurrency-related investment is a fraud, it is important for individuals and firms selling these products to be mindful that they are not doing so in a vacuum… Sponsors of these products should seek the advice of knowledgeable legal counsel to ensure they do not run afoul of the law,” NASAA President Joseph Borg said, noting that offenses other than fraud, such as failure to register an offered product, were prevalent.
Borg also said that, apart from his office’s efforts, individuals had to do their due diligence before participating in ICOs or purchasing a financial product offered to them.
“Be cautious when dealing with promoters who claim their ICO offering is exempt from securities registration but do not ask about your income, net worth or level of investing sophistication,” Borg said.
The NASAA’s members include the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico.
Borg also serves as Director of the Alabama Securities Commission, which, in May, sent cease-and-desist letters to five cryptocurrency companies operating in the state. One of them, Miami-based Platinum Coin, claimed it would provide a 320% annual return to investors.
Just this past week, Colorado Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome put a halt to three cryptocurrency businesses whose ICOs weren’t registered. One of them, Bionic Coin, promised it “will grow your money without any effort.”
A Diar report revealed that in the first two weeks of August alone, ICO scams were responsible for investors losing $68 million. Of this amount, Shenzhen Puyin Blockchain Group took off with $60 million through three fraudulent ICOs, while a startup called NVO took off with the remaining $8 million.
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