ICOs Can Pose ‘Fundamental Issues’ Says Ontario Securities Regulator

Ontario’s securities regulator will prioritize work on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings in the coming year. In a draft “Statement of Priorities” published on March 29, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) flagged token sales and cryptocurrency markets as two areas in which it would push to better understand – and regulate – during the next 12 months. The OSC said it will accept feedback on its document until the end of May. The commission cited the development of cryptocurrencies in particular as an innovative tool in the financial sector, but also noted…

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What If They ICO? Investors Seek Veto Power Over Future Token Sales

“I think it’s fair to say that ICO-related language is making its way into term sheets.” The comment, made by a partner at a major venture capital firm, shines a light on how traditional investors are tweaking their standard paperwork to deal with how a growing number of companies, both blockchain-based and traditional, are pursuing initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a way to raise capital from the sale of crypto tokens. The partner, who requested to stay anonymous, said investors are requiring companies they back to agree to some kind…

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Justice Department Sues Founders of Mayweather-Backed ICO

Criminal charges have been filed against the founders of an initial coin offering endorsed by heavyweight champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., adding to the allegations levied Monday by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farkas were arrested yesterday and hit with charges of fraud, as CoinDesk previously reported after the SEC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. According to statements from the U.S. Department of Justice, the two were accused of “conspiring to commit, and the commission of, securities and…

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SEC Halts Mayweather-Endorsed ICO, Charges Founders With Fraud

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has halted an initial coin offering and charged its founders with “orchestrating a fraudulent initial coin offering,” the regulator said Monday night. The agency said it charged Sohrab Sharma and Robert Farkas, the co-founders of Centra Tech, with fraud after they raised $32 million by selling “unregistered securities.” While the ICO startup claimed the funds would go toward developing financial products backed by Visa and Mastercard, the SEC said Centra had no relationship with either payment card network. The agency further stated that Sharma…

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Telegram Doubles Amount Raised in ICO to $1.7 Billion

Messaging app provider Telegram has successfully raised another $850 million through its initial coin offering (ICO) private sale, public documents reveal. According to a Form D disclosure filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by Telegram founder Pavel Durov on Thursday, the funds raised were “purchase agreements for cryptocurrency.” The company announced it had raised $850 million in late February in the initial ICO phase, which was already at the time one of the largest amounts raised via a token sale to date. Notably, the filing states that “this…

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Video Game Giant Unity to Work With Mobile App Kik’s ICO Token

The Kin Foundation wants video game developers to help take the kin cryptocurrency mainstream – and it has just scored the assistance of industry giant Unity Technologies. Unity is the maker of a popular game engine that can be used by other developers. Notable games built with Unity’s engine include Cuphead, Pokémon Go and Kerbal Space Program, among numerous others. The company is the first participant in kin’s “decentralized ecosystem for digital services and applications.” Created by messaging app firm Kik, the initial coin offering of the kin token garnered…

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What It’s Really Like to Talk to the SEC About Your ICO

It didn’t take long for Scott Nelson to realize he was only non-lawyer in the conference room. There amidst attorneys from various government agencies, including the SEC, the CEO of blockchain startup Sweetbridge and long-time logistics tech specialist was prepared to discuss his company’s forthcoming initial coin offering (ICO). The lawyers on his team had tried to persuade him not to go. It was an audacious move seeing that the SEC has recently begun dozens of investigations into various stakeholders involved in the sale and marketing of ICOs as part of…

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Massachusetts Halts 5 ICOs on ‘Unregistered Securities’ Grounds

Massachusetts has ordered the stoppage of five initial coin offerings (ICOs), stating in new orders that the companies in question were selling unregistered securities. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin ordered 18moons, Across Platforms, Mattervest, Pink Ribbon and Sparkco to cease their ICO campaigns Tuesday, following investigations into each of the companies which found that they were all violating the state’s “General Laws,” which define securities as stocks, bonds or investment contracts which guarantee a financial return, as defined within the orders. The halts were part of a broader investigation into…

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Steven Seagal and Bitcoiin Founders ‘Exit’ As ICO Ends

Actor Steven Seagal made headlines in February when he endorsed the “Bitcoiin” cryptocurrency, but his role as brand ambassador has apparently come to an end. In a March 26 statement, the group behind the Bitcoiin cryptocurrency said that both Seagal and the “founders” of the project are exiting in light of the token sale’s completion. The post stated: “As Bitcoiin goes through the conversion phase from token to mineable coin we wish to advise that Bitcoiin will join the likes of the original Bitcoin and become a truly open source. Therefore…

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Alibaba’s Payment Affiliate Rules Out Prospect of ICO

Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba’s payment affiliate and operator of AliPay, has taken a critical stance over initial coin offerings (ICOs). Eric Jing, Ant Financial’s CEO, speaking during a speech at the annual China Development Forum on March 24 in Beijing, said that much of the existing blockchain enthusiasm comes from speculation around the concept of blockchain. Jing suggested that many projects behind initial coin offerings can provide nothing but a poor white paper, and he appeared to rule out the possibility of his firm holding an ICO. “The current phase…

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