Business 30 November 2018Dennis Wafula
Unauthorized ICO lands crypto mining firm in hot water with Swiss court
Cryptocurrency mining firm Envion AG was reportedly shut down in Switzerland over allegations that it conducted an unauthorized initial coin offering (ICO). On Wednesday, German news outlet Handelsblatt Global reported that the Cantonal court of Zug ordered the company’s liquidation, noting that the Swiss firm lacked any auditing function or board.
Established by Michael Luckow and Matthias Woestmann, Envion is an off-grid mining company that boasts of using decentralized, clean energy such as solar and hydroelectric to power its mobile mining units. The Swiss company held an ICO in early 2018, raising around $100 million.
Luckow accused his partner of taking control of the majority of Envion shares shortly after the company held its crowdsale. Meanwhile, Woestmann claimed Luckow illegally generated another 40 million of Envion’s native tokens (EVN) without the knowledge of the board of directors. This, according to Woestmann, was in addition to the 86 million tokens that were initially agreed on.
In July, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) launched a probe into Envion’s ICO and found that the company accepted some 100 million francs (worth $100.01 million at the time) from 30,000 investors. The company reportedly gave investors the EVN tokens “in a bond-like form.”
According to reports, FINMA was investigating “possible breaches of banking law resulting from the potentially unauthorized acceptance of public deposits” during the token sale.
Since the dispute between the two, Luckow has been fighting for the firm in a bid to save the original concept. In a Medium post, Envion stated, “The founding team now faces the challenge of responding to fallacious allegations as they make their case against Woestmann. Though Woestmann can produce no evidence supporting his allegations, envion’s founders have begun a campaign to publish the necessary proof to allow investors to determine the truth based on verifiable documentation.”
Financial supervisors have already appointed an investigator to ensure the liquidation process is “unavoidable.”
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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