XBT First Global Credit charged by SEC over BTC security swaps

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have sanctioned another digital asset company. XBT Corp. SARL d/b/a First Global Credit, a Switzerland-based securities dealer, has been charged with offering and selling security based swaps, using BTC, while failing to do so on a registered national exchange.

Security based swaps, under U.S. law, are when investors are allowed to trade in securities without ever owning the underlying security asset. First Global Credit, the SEC alleges, marketed BTC based buying and selling of security based swaps. As the company never registered and met exchange requirements with the SEC, which makes the practice illegal.

“Federal securities laws impose specific requirements for offering and selling security-based swaps to retail investors in the U.S.,” said David Peavler, regional director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office. “These obligations cannot be avoided merely by describing the swap transaction by a different name or funding it with digital currencies.”

First Global Credit, the SEC notes, has already agreed to pay a penalty of $100,000 for the infraction, as well as a disgorgement, or in other words, repayment of ill-gotten gains, or $38,000.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has likewise issued charges against First Global Credit for failure to register with the Commission as a futures commission merchant (FCM). “This case demonstrates that the CFTC will hold intermediaries accountable if they solicit or accept orders without properly registering with the agency. This case also underscores that the Commission will continue working with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure the integrity of our markets,” said CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald.

Based on a legal filing tied to the SEC’s charges, we understand First Global Credit had $62.5 million worth of security based swaps on their platform. The just over $138,000 in disgorgement and penalties seems to pale in comparison to that amount, but understanding that the company will no longer be profiting from this practice, and weren’t actually profiting $62.5 million but just in fees, helps explain the numbers and make it better.

This is yet another reminder that no matter where in the world an operation is based, regulators can still take action on it. This Swiss based company was profiting from Americans, and has now paid a price from it. Other cryptocurrency companies operating in legal grey areas, or with ties to outright criminality, could soon experience similar fates.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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