The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to crack down on individuals associated with digital currency projects from the crypto-mania era. Today, the SEC announced that they have settled with Coinschedule.com–a website that provided information and trust scores for ICOs–in their case that charged Coinschedule’s successor company United Kingdom-based Blotics Ltd. with violating anti-touting provisions.
Coinschedule, which was active from 2016 to August 2019, would list information about coins and tokens, provide direct links to the project’s websites and the location where the token offerings took place, and create credibility and operational risk evaluations for each coin and token they listed. Coinschedule said those metrics were derived from a proprietary algorithm that Coinschedule used–but the truth is, the digital currency projects were paying Coinschedule to cover their coin or token.
According to the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws, individuals who promote securities must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion–which Coinschedule failed to do.
“As the SEC’s order finds, Coinschedule presented potential investors with seemingly independent profiles about token offerings when in fact they were bought and paid for by token issuers,” said Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. “The securities law prohibiting touting securities for compensation without appropriate disclosures to investors is clear and longstanding.”
But instead of admitting or denying the claims against them, Blotics agreed to cease and desist from committing or causing any future violations of the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws, and to pay $43,000 in disgorgement, plus prejudgment interest, and a penalty of $154,434.
The crackdown continues
Regulators around the globe are making it clear that they have their eye on the blockchain and digital currency spaces. Blotics’ settlement with the SEC is the second announcement we have heard from the SEC this week in regard to the agency cracking down on a blockchain/digital currency-related matter. Earlier this week we saw the SEC charge three individuals involved in an insider-trading scheme around Long Blockchain Corp–formerly known as Long Island Ice Tea–that took place at the height of crypto-mania in December 2017.
What these events and the ongoing investigation and regulatory crackdown on Binance show us is that the blockchain and digital currency industry have grown large enough for government organizations around the world to begin regulating them to protect their citizens, residents, and investors. However, the side effect that this regulation will have is that we will start seeing individuals and businesses in the blockchain and digital currency industry, including a few household names and leaders in their respective sectors of the industry like Binance and Tether, get flushed out as regulators give them the option to comply with their existing laws or stop operating in their countries.
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