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ICO

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We previously reported how, on April 3, 2020, multiple class-action law suits were filed in the Southern District of New York against a host of crypto exchanges and token issuers, including Block.one. One of those cases was dismissed, which led to five others then being withdrawn. The case against Block.one has now been settled. At the height of the ICO craze in 2017-18, Block.one raised a record $4 billion in its ICO, much of it…

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission continued to the very end of 2020 to pursue companies that engaged in ICOs without proper registration. One December 23, 2020, the SEC settled charges against Texas-based blockchain startup company Tierion, Inc. for conducting an unregistered offering of securities in the form of a “token sale.” According to the SEC’s order, Tierion raised approximately $25 million through the sale of “Tierion Network Tokens” (TNT) in July of 2017. The…

ShipChain was a company engaged in developing a logistics tracking and management platform using the Ethereum blockchain technology. During the height of the ICO craze in late 2017, ShipChain raised more than $27 million in an ICO. On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ordered ShipChain to cease and desist and to pay a $2.05 million penalty. As the Order explained, ShipChain first launched its ICO in October 2017, and the ICO continued through…

An indictment unsealed on December 9, 2020 shows that cryptocurrency founder, Amir Bruno Elmaani (aka “Bruno Block”) has been charged with two counts of U.S. federal tax evasion. Elmaani is alleged to have made millions of dollars in income from the sale and exchange of cryptocurrencies but attempted to obscure his ownership of that income through various schemes and evaded reporting that income to the U.S. IRS. In September and October 2017, Elmaani, using his…

On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against Unikrn Inc., an operator of an online eSports gaming and gambling platform for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO) of digital asset securities. Unikrn agreed to settle the charges by paying a $6.1 million penalty, substantially all of the company’s assets, to be distributed to investors through a Fair Fund. According to the SEC’s order, between June and October 2017, Unikrn raised approximately…

INX Limited, a Gibraltar-based private company formed in 2017, announced on August 24 that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declared as effective INX Limited’s Form F-1 registration statement. A Form F-1 is the registration required for foreign companies seeking to issue securities under U.S. federal law. This approval marks the first instance in which the SEC has cleared a full registration statement for a public offering of crypto-tokens. The SEC has previously approved…

On August 13, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against Virginia-based Boon.Tech and its chief executive officer Rajesh Pavithran for fraud and registration violations in connection with a $5 million initial coin offering of digital asset securities.  According to the SEC’s from November 2017 to January 2018, Boon.Tech and Pavithran raised approximately $5 million by selling Boon Coins to more than 1,500 investors in the U.S. and worldwide to raise funding to…

Last month, the French Financial Markets Regulator (AMF) delivered an ICO “VISA” to a company called WPO, which plans to issue a GreenToken between September and November of this year. WPO is one of Europe’s leading independent asset management and service platforms, specialising in wind and solar energy. WPO claims to have the capacity to collect and analyse a huge set of data relating to wind and solar assets, thereby enabling it to improve the…

France has regulated Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and intermediaries providing crypto-asset services by virtue of its PACTE law n° 2019-486 of 22 May 2019. Its aim was twofold: France wanted to attract meritorious projects to its territory while also bringing this ecosystem within the ambit of regulation. Thus, while France transposed the EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering-Directive (AML-Directive), it went a step further by imposing additional regulatory duties on intermediaries. In this respect, it has provided…

On May 28, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against blockchain services company BitClave PTE Ltd. for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering of digital asset securities. In June 2017, BitClave began marketing the development of a platform called the BitClave Active Search Ecosystem (“BASE”). BitClave advertised that on BASE, once developed, customers would receive a digital asset the company created, CAT, in exchange for viewing and interacting with targeted ads. Around…