Business 20 September 2018

Erik Gibbs

US regulators punish crypto firm claiming ties to Coinbase

A Russian cryptocurrency firm has met the long arm of the law in Texas. According to a press release by the Texas Securities Commission (TSC), Coins Miner Investment Ltd. was presented with an emergency cease-and-desist order following allegations that the firm and allegedly misstated marketing material to investors.

Specifically, the TSC claims that Coins Miner fraudulently claimed ties to Cointelegraph and Coinbase. It allegedly spoofed Coinbase’s email address in an effort to defraud investors and make it appear as though the company was tied to Coinbase.

Additionally, Coins Miner lied and said that it was registered in the UK. However, it was operating out of Volgograd, Russia. TSC has charged the company with sending spam emails to lure them into making investments in its mining operations.

The cease-and-desist order targets a Coins Miner affiliate by the name of “Ana Julia Lara.” She is charged with representing herself as a cryptocurrency trader with Coinbase and for misappropriating a photo that allegedly showed her with the president of Ripple.

According to the order, “Respondent Lara is telling potential investors she met the president of Ripple and [is] providing potential investors with a photograph that purports to depict her and the president of Ripple. The photograph does not depict Respondent Lara. Instead the photograph depicts a vice president at CoinTelegraph Media Group [sic].”

On its website, CoinTelegraph has denied “all connection with the person ‘Ana Julia Lara.'”

A video published by Coins Miner was also targeted in the order. The fake video includes pictures of supposed facilities, as well as engineers and other professionals, that were proven to be stock photos easily accessible over the Internet.

Another video shows a journalist with Fortune magazine talking about crypto. Next to him is a logo for the Coins Miner company. However, the logo was superimposed on the imagery and the TSC order points out that “neither the journalist nor Fortune authorized the use of the video, which was filmed for Fortune as part of its coverage of cryptocurrencies.”

Crypto opponents love stories like these because they give them the opportunity to try and prove the fallacy of cryptocurrencies. However, a quick Internet search on the term “fraud” produces over 40 articles on fiat-based fraud and scams—written only in the past 24 hours.

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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