Swiss Watchdog Rules Crypto Miner’s ICO ‘Seriously Violated’ Laws

Switzerland’s finance watchdog has found that the cryptocurrency mining firm Envion AG, which raised millions through an initial coin offering (ICO), held the sale illegally and “seriously violated” laws. Announcing the news on Wednesday, the country’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said that Envion unlawfully received public deposits worth over 90 million francs ($90.33 million) from at least 37,000 investors through its token offering early in 2018. FINMA began investigating Envion in July 2018 for potentially breaking financial market rules. In Wednesday’s statement, the regulator concluded that Envion carried out…

Crypto Lawyer Drew Hinkes Joins Firm to Help ICO Issuers Fight Back

Blockchain lawyer Andrew Hinkes is spoiling for a fight. The general counsel at investment bank Athena Blockchain and an adjunct business and law professor at New York University, Hinkes believes token issuers will soon start pushing back against regulatory enforcement actions and demanding clearer guidance, after mostly taking it on the chin for the last year or so. And when that happens, he’ll be in their corner. Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, Hinkes has joined the blockchain and digital currency practice of the law firm Carlton Fields, where he will focus…

Thailand’s Securities Watchdog Approves Country’s First ICO Portal

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given the green light to the country’s first portal for scrutinized initial coin offerings (ICOs). As reported by Bangkok Post on Wednesday, the decision was made by the SEC’s board of directors and now needs final approval from other government bodies such as the Ministry of Commerce, according to the agency’s director of fintech, Archari Suppiroj. The portal is being developed to protect investors by scrutinizing ICOs and auditing their smart contracts, as well as countering financial crimes by ensuring sound know-your-customer processes. Suppiroj further told the Post…

BitTorrent Token Is Already Nearly 6 Times Its ICO Price

The price of BitTorrent Token (BTT) is closing in on six times the price of its initial coin offering (ICO), which occurred just one week ago. 59.8 billion BTT tokens were sold through Binance’s token sale platform on Jan. 28 at a price of $0.00012 per token, according to sale information provided by the exchange. Up nearly 40 percent today alone, BTT is now trading at a considerably higher price of $0.000798 – representing a 565 percent increase from its ICO price, Coinmarketcap data reveals. That sale sold out in…

South Korea Will Maintain ICO Ban After Finding Token Projects Broke Rules

South Korea’s top financial regulator has said it will not lift the ban on domestic initial coin offerings (ICOs) after finding that some projects have been violating rules.As ICO investment is a “high risk” activity, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said, calling on the public to exercise caution when investing in token projects, according to a report from CoinDesk Korea. The FSC decision was informed by the results of a survey conducted by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), indicating that some ICOs purportedly conducted abroad had also illegally raised money…

Chat App Kik Says It Will Fight SEC Over Possible ICO Action

Canada-based messaging app company Kik is planning to fight a likely U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement action over its 2017 initial coin offering (ICO). According to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Kik founder and CEO Ted Livingston said that the firm’s token, kin, works like a currency and is not “an unregistered security” as believed by the SEC. Kik raised almost $100 million via a sale of the token last September. With ICOs having diminished in number, in part due to the threat of regulatory…

Blockchain Project Polkadot Plans ICO to Raise Another $60 Million: Report

Blockchain project Polkadot is reportedly seeking to raise up to $60 million through another initial coin offering (ICO). According to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Thursday citing “people familiar with the matter,” the startup’s latest token fundraising effort would bring the value of all its tokens to $1.2 billion, when those not in circulation are included. Polkadot previously raised more than $145 million via a token sale in October 2017. Soon after, though, it had ether tokens to the value of $98 million frozen due to a bug…

SEC Charges DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather for ICO Promotions

Nobody gets away with fraud in the SEC’s eyes. The latest pair to be hit with SEC charges include pro-boxer Floyd Mayweather and music producer DJ Khaled. SEC Charges Mayweather and Khaled The Securities and Exchange Commission charged the pair with the improper promotion of initial coin offerings or ICOs for cryptocurrencies. Neither party revealed to investors that they were, in fact, paid large sums of money to promote certain ICOs. According to CNBC, a settlement announced Thursday disclosed the charges. According to the settlement, Mayweather never spoke of a $100,000 promotional…

Fraudulent South Korean Exchange Pure Bit Nabs $2.8M in ICO Exit Scam

A South Korean ICO has defrauded its private sale investors out of roughly 13,500 ETH ($2.8 million) before disappearing from the internet entirely. Pure Bit, which has already pulled the plug on its website, has apparently conducted a fairly routine exit scam for its Pure Coin token sale. The cryptocurrency was pitched as an exchange token for Pure Bit, an exchange that was supposed to launch by the end of the month. The Coin  promised to give investors shares of the exchange’s trading revenue as well as discounted fees for trading,…

The Incoming Wave of ICO Regulation (Yes, It’s Coming)

Alex Sunnarborg is a Founder of Tetras Capital. Previously, he was a research analyst at CoinDesk and a founder of the crypto investing app Lawnmower. As you may know, securities classification analysis in the U.S. today primarily revolves around the Securities Act of 1933 and the SEC v. W.J. Howey Co. Supreme Court case of 1946. The Securities Act of 1933 was established to require issuers to disclose certain pieces of information to potential investors prior to any public securities offering. This law was enacted to reduce misrepresentation by issuers and to help…