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| October 22, 2018

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US Court Issues Emergency Order Halting a Planned Initial Coin Offering

October 12, 2018 |

US Court Issues Emergency Order Halting a Planned Initial Coin Offering

An American court has put a stop to an initial coin offering (ICO) by a company claiming to offer “the first licensed and regulated tokenized crypto currency exchange & index fund based in the US.” The ICO promoters even invented their own regulatory authority, which seems to have really irked the regulators.

Also Read: The Daily: Whales Join China’s Richest Ranks, Seniors Take a Swing at Bitcoin

SEC Stops Blockvest ICO

US Court Issues Emergency Order Halting a Planned Initial Coin OfferingThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced on Thursday that it has obtained an emergency court order halting a planned ICO by Blockvest. The Southern California District Court order also stopped an ongoing pre-ICO sale by the company and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold, III, as well as freezing the defendants’ assets.

According to the ICO’s website, Blockvest (BLV) is an ERC20 token based upon Ethereum. “Blockvest Nvestnodes generate passive income through asset backed profit sharing smart contracts. At it’s core, BLV is a security token that’s representative of the top performing cryptocurrency index.”

According to the SEC’s complaint, Blockvest and Ringgold, who also goes by the name Rasool Abdul Rahim El, were falsely claiming their crypto fund was “licensed and regulated.” Blockvest and Ringgold also allegedly misrepresented Blockvest’s connections to an accounting firm.

The Blockchain Exchange Commission

The SEC complaint also alleges Ringgold promoted the ICO with a fake agency he created called the “Blockchain Exchange Commission,” using a graphic similar to the SEC’s seal and the same address as SEC headquarters.

US Court Issues Emergency Order Halting a Planned Initial Coin Offering
Screenshot

“We allege that this ICO is using both the SEC seal and a made-up crypto regulatory authority to trick investors into believing the ICO was approved by regulators,” said Robert A. Cohen, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. “The SEC does not endorse investment products and investors should be highly skeptical of any claims suggesting otherwise.”

A court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18, 2018. The SEC will ask for injunctions, return of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties, as well as a ban against Ringgold from participating in offering any securities in the future.

Would you rather trust the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Blockchain Exchange Commission? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post US Court Issues Emergency Order Halting a Planned Initial Coin Offering appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

UK Issues First Ever ‘Unexplained Wealth Order’

October 11, 2018 |

By all accounts, Zamira Hajiyeva has had it pretty good. For instance, the BBC reports, the London resident owns two properties valued at about $ 29 million and a Gulfstream jet worth more than $ 40 million, and she’s had the resources to spend some $ 21 million at the London department store…
Newser

Toyota issues a safety recall for 2.4 million Prius, Auris hybrids to fix a defect in their electronics

October 6, 2018 |

Toyota said Friday that it is recalling 2.4 million hybrid gas-electric cars, mostly Prius models, around the world to fix an electronic defect that causes the vehicles to suddenly lose power and could “increase the risk of a crash.”

The recall in the U.S. includes various Prius models that were…


L.A. Times – Business

North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension Rewards

October 1, 2018 |

North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension Rewards

The securities department of the US state of North Dakota has issued orders against three companies promoting initial coin offerings in the state. They are Bitconnect, Magma Foundation, and Pension Rewards. The investigations are part of Operation Cryptosweep which involves over 40 US and Canadian securities regulators.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

North Dakota’s Cease and Desist Orders

North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension RewardsNorth Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler issued cease and desist orders Wednesday against three companies “promoting unregistered and potentially fraudulent securities in North Dakota in the form of initial coin offerings (ICOs),” the state’s securities department announced. The department wrote:

The companies that are the subject of the orders are Bitconnect and related companies Bitconnect Ltd. and Bitconnect International Plc., Magma Foundation and related companies Magma Coin and Magma, and Pension Rewards Platform, aka Pension Rewards.

North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension Rewards
North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler.

The orders are the result of investigations by the department’s ICO task force set up to identify “ICOs and cryptocurrency related investments that pose a risk to North Dakota investors,” the announcement describes. “The effort is also part of Operation Cryptosweep, a coordinated multi-jurisdiction investigation and enforcement effort involving over 40 U.S. and Canadian securities regulators.” In August, the regulators revealed that more than 200 crypto-related cases are being actively investigated, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

The announcement explains that the three companies are not registered to offer securities in the state. However, their websites, which solicit investments for ICOs, are available to residents of the state. In addition, they contain “unsubstantiated claims,” “misrepresentations,” or “several allegedly fraudulent representations.”

The Three Companies

Bitconnect, Bitconnect Ltd., and Bitconnect International Plc have already been served orders by several states such as Colorado, North Carolina and Texas for “alleged unregistered activity and fraud,” the commissioner detailed, adding:

Bitconnect’s website claims that holders of their BCC [token] can receive interest rates of up to 120%…Bitconnect’s claim of excessive interest rates is unsubstantiated and misleading.

North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension RewardsMagma Foundation, Magma Coin, and Magma are conducting an ICO for MGM token which is allegedly “backed by gold and/or ETFs,” the commissioner noted. The Colorado Securities Division has already issued a cease and desist order to the company.

Pension Rewards Platform, aka Pension Rewards, is soliciting investors “for virtual currency called ‘$ pcoin’ or ‘pcoin’ which allows investment in and use of their platform to connect freelancers to available workforce opportunities.” The order describes:

The website states that the coins will multiply rapidly and produce a large profit for investors, and that the growth will ‘happen in no time’.

Additionally, the coin’s whitepaper “makes the unsubstantiated claim that due to the rapidly growing market and popularity of their platform, the coin price will grow.” However, the commissioner emphasized that the firm does not “disclose material financial and risk information to potential investors, nor do they describe the means by which they will provide the promised return on investments.”

What do you think of North Dakota issuing orders against the three companies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and North Dakota Office of the Governor.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension Rewards appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Issues Its First Crypto Disciplinary Action

September 13, 2018 |

US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Issues First Crypto Disciplinary Action

The U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has taken its first disciplinary action involving cryptocurrencies. The authority charges a broker with fraudulent and unlawful distribution of unregistered crypto securities. The owner allegedly “attempted to lure public investment in his worthless public company” by issuing “the first minable coin backed by marketable securities.”

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

FINRA’s First Crypto Disciplinary Action

US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Issues First Crypto Disciplinary ActionThe U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has issued its first crypto-related disciplinary action. The organization announced on Tuesday, September 11, “that it filed a complaint against Timothy Tilton Ayre of Agawam, Massachusetts, charging him with securities fraud and the unlawful distribution of an unregistered cryptocurrency security called Hempcoin,” adding:

This case represents FINRA’s first disciplinary action involving cryptocurrencies.

FINRA is a not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect investors in the US by ensuring that the broker-dealer industry operates fairly and honestly. Although the organization is not part of the government, it is overseen by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In addition, FINRA “has the authority to fine, suspend or bar brokers and firms from the industry,” its website describes.

US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Issues First Crypto Disciplinary ActionAccording to Tuesday’s notice, “The issuance of a disciplinary complaint represents the initiation of a formal proceeding by FINRA in which findings as to the allegations in the complaint have not been made, and does not represent a decision as to any of the allegations contained in the complaint.” All parties named in the complaint can file a response and request a hearing before a FINRA disciplinary panel, the notice details, noting:

Possible remedies include a fine, censure, suspension or bar from the securities industry, disgorgement of gains associated with the violations and payment of restitution.

The Hempcoin Case

US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Issues First Crypto Disciplinary ActionAyre is listed as the president of Rocky Mountain Ayre Inc., a publicly traded company listed on the OTC Grey market under the RMTN trading symbol.

In its complaint, FINRA alleges that, from January 2013 through October 2016, Ayre made “fraudulent, positive statements about RMTN’s business finances,” elaborating:

Ayre attempted to lure public investment in his worthless public company, Rocky Mountain Ayre Inc. (RMTN), by issuing and selling Hempcoin – which he publicized as ‘the first minable coin backed by marketable securities’.

US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Issues First Crypto Disciplinary ActionAccording to FINRA, Ayre bought the rights to Hempcoin in June 2015. He then repackaged the token as a security backed by RMTN common stock and marketed it as “the world’s first currency to represent equity ownership” in a publicly traded company.

Investors, promised that “each coin was equivalent to 0.10 shares of RMTN common stock,” proceeded to mine more than 81 million Hempcoin securities through late 2017, FINRA described, noting that the coins were traded on two crypto exchanges.

FINRA believes that “Ayre defrauded investors in RMTN by making materially false statements and omissions regarding the nature of RMTN’s business, failing to disclose his creation and unlawful distribution of Hempcoin, and making multiple false and misleading statements in RMTN’s financial statements,” adding:

FINRA charges Ayre with the unlawful distribution of an unregistered security because he never registered Hempcoin and no exemption to registration applied.

What do you think of FINRA’s first crypto disciplinary action? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Rocky Mountain Ayre Inc.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Issues Its First Crypto Disciplinary Action appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Mayor Issues Memo Banning Nike Products

September 11, 2018 |

The mayor of a New Orleans suburb is banning the city’s parks and recreation department from purchasing Nike products, the AP reports. The memo by Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn to the parks and recreation director says Nike products cannot be purchased for use at the city’s recreation facilities. It also…
Newser

State Department Issues Travel Advisory for Mexico

August 23, 2018 |

The US State Department has issued a travel advisory for Mexico, saying that travelers to the country should “exercise increased caution” in general and avoid several states altogether. “Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, are widespread, according to the advisory issued Wednesday. Among the states listed as…
Newser

CNN

Venezuela issues new currency, amid hyperinflation and social turmoil

August 21, 2018 |

Venezuela is starting to use a new currency Monday to help bolster its collapsing economy
CNN.com – RSS Channel – Regions – Americas

Korn Frontman’s Wife Dies the Day He Issues Court Order

August 19, 2018 |

The wife of Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis died Friday—the same day Davis issued a domestic violence restraining order against her, People reports. “The Davis family is brokenhearted over the devastating loss of Deven Davis,” says the family in a statement. “We ask that you respect their privacy.” The…
Newser

1.4K Google Workers on Secret China App: ‘Urgent Ethical Issues’

August 17, 2018 |

There had already been rumblings of Google employees who’d complained or defected from the company altogether to avoid having to work on a censorship-friendly search app reportedly being made for China. Now about 1,400 employees who are still there have banded together in a more cohesive way, penning a…
Newser