Steve Wozniak tosses hat in blockchain VC ring

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has put his name behind EQUI Global, a blockchain-powered venture capital fund from the founders of a similarly named company that had failed to raise adequate funds earlier this year.

A blog post from EQUI Global announced the partnership, naming Wozniak as a co-founder along with entrepreneurs Doug Barrowman and Michelle Mone. The company seeks “to disrupt the venture capital industry—one that is considered to be extremely traditional.”

People can invest in the fund through the purchase of EquiTokens. Wozniak, as head of technology investments, will “help find the tech stars of tomorrow. Woz will then bring them to the table and the board of serial entrepreneurs will mentor and coach them with world class expertise and guidance,” according to the press statement.

Up to 80% of the EQUI Global fund will be placed in technology, while the remaining amount will be for assets such as real estate and collectibles such as art and vintage cars.

Wozniak said, “I get ideas pitched to me every single day in fact dozens and I always say no. Since I co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, this is about the second time in twenty years that I actually said yes, I want to be a part of this. It has to be something I really believe in and I really believe in EQUI… I know that we have something very special with EQUI. I’ve since enjoyed giving my feedback to the technical side of the initiative and will very much be an actively involved proud co-founder.”

Barrowman and Mone launched EQUI Capital last February. A March initial coin offering (ICO) was targeted to raise $75 million. After about a month, however, the company only managed to raise about 10% of its target, and its subsequent campaign that offered “bounties” to those who promoted the ICO online, failed to generate the desired funds. Reacting to complaints of so-called bounty hunters being paid only a small amount owed to them, a spokeswoman for Mone reportedly said that another company, AmaZix, was responsible for the bounty program.

Wozniak said of the new enterprise, “I am very pleased that my business partners are the respected Michelle and Doug… I greatly admire Michelle and Doug for their huge accomplishments.” He added that EQUI Global was already looking at more than 20 businesses to invest in.

Wozniak, an outspoken advocate of cryptocurrencies, is entering the blockchain business for the first time. Last February, he admitted to being robbed of cryptocurrencies worth about $75,000 at the time, through a credit card scam.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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3 more ICOs shut down by North Dakota securities watchdog

A North Dakota security watchdog is keeping tight reins on initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the U.S. state. Last Thursday, the commissioner of the North Dakota Securities Department (NDSD), Karen Tyler, issued a cease and desist order against three firms that were discovered to be involved in promoting fraudulent securities and illegal business practices related to ICOs in the state. The North Dakota financial regulator carried out an investigation, Operation Cryptosweep, to identify ICOs and cryptocurrency-related investments that pose a risk to North Dakota investors.

The investigation revealed that the companies involved—Crystal Token, Advertiza Holdings (Pty) Ltd., and Life Cross Coin aka LifecrosscoinGmbH—were selling securities without obtaining a license. Also, the companies were accused of using fraudulent statements on their websites whereby they all claimed to give high returns without any proof of how they would achieve them. Crystal Token was not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and so the firm could not offer securities in the state, according to the NDSD. Equally, Advertiza claimed to offer securities which promised high returns through its virtual currency called “Tizacoin” (TIZA), while Cross Coin was found to have used a Berlin IP address that was already linked to ransomware and trojans. Generally, the investigation found out that the firms could be harmful to investors, according to the state regulator.

This was not the first time the department took action against ICOs in the state. Last month, the NDSD issued cease-and-desist orders against three other companies: BitConnect, Magma Foundation and the Pension Rewards Platform. Tyler said about the orders, “The continued exploitation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem by financial criminals is a significant threat to Main Street investors.”

The commissioner noted, “In formulaic fashion, financial criminals are cashing in on the hype and excitement around blockchain, crypto assets, and ICOs – investors should be exceedingly cautious when considering a related investment.”

Regulators are putting up more frameworks to protect investors. The SEC has announced that it will sue crypto companies offering pump-and-dump schemes, as well as ICO projects who have false SEC approvals.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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ViaBTC mining pool captures $30M in ICO—and that’s a bad thing

A couple of days ago, word got around that one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining pools had conducted an initial coin offering (ICO) and had raised $30 million in a little more than two hours. It was the first time an ICO had been held on the Bitcoin BCH network and should be seen more as a failure than a success.

ViaBTC introduced a new cryptocurrency token, the VIAT, ahead of the ICO. The company has billed the token as a “value-added service privileges” coin that can be used as a tool of value transfer. There will be a fixed supply of 2 billion coins, of which 250 million will be shared among the company’s partners and 250 million will be distributed through community support. The remainder will be released over time to reward miners.

Per the coin’s white paper, “ViaBTC will buy back and “burn” VIAT with 20% of its quarterly revenue at the end of each quarter. This will reduce the total amount of VIAT steadily on a benign deflation model.” It would seem that the minds behind ViaBTC don’t fully comprehend the burn process or, if they do, are prepared to destroy the network. When you burn an asset, it becomes destroyed and, as such, means that any return seen on the asset is subsequently worthless.

The idea of burning is tied closely to the idea of Wormhole, the highly debated omni layer protocol that has already been shown to be less than beneficial for the Bitcoin BCH network. It’s no surprise that ViaBTC got its start thanks to a large investment by crypto mining company Bitmain, which supports Wormhole.

There are concerns that VIAT could be an unregistered security per China’s securities laws. Ultimately, this will depend on how ViaBTC uses funds collected from the ICO and whether or not holders of the digital currency earn dividends that might be considered as giving those investors a vested security interest in the company or its CoinEx exchange.

Referring to the distribution of tokens, there is a glaring red flag that pops up. ViaBTC indicates that it will give 250 million tokens to the platform’s partners. This equates to 1/8 being shared among the individuals. Given that ViaBTC has a substantial connection to Bitmain, it isn’t unrealistic to imagine that Bitmain will receive a significant amount of coins.

There are a couple of issues with this scenario. Bitmain has already been outed for questionable financial stability and, possibly, illegal activity—it announced that it was backed by several banks when it wasn’t and, according to internal documents, lied about its finances to investors. Additionally, any collaboration between Bitmain and ViaBTC can undoubtedly be viewed as collusion and will result in lack of decentralization.

Apart from these issues, in reviewing the white paper, there seems to be one important piece of information missing. Out of everything ViaBTC says of VIAT, there simply doesn’t seem to be any tangible utility of the coin.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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NASDAQ could launch regulated crypto platform

This past June, NASDAQ CEO Adena Friedman warned about the issues associated with initial coin offerings (ICO). She was referring to the inherent risks associated with the offerings, which have not been forced to adhere to any set regulations. However, the exchange might be prepared to support a different type of ICO, one that is regulated by financial authorities.

According to a report in The Block, the exchange is considering introducing a platform that will allow firms to offer security token offerings (STO). An STO is similar to an ICO, but differs in that all STOs are regulated by authorities. STOs must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US and are considered tradable assets issued against future profits.

An unidentified source told The Block that the exchange has been in touch with blockchain and cryptocurrency firms, such as the blockchain startup Symbiont, to implement the platform. Through the platform, NASDAQ would issue tokenized securities and offer an STO trading solution.

NASDAQ isn’t the first entity to consider getting into the STO side of the equation. CoinList, which provides STO services to FinTech companies, and Overstock’s tZero are already involved, and angel investment portal AngelList also has an arm dedicated to STOs.

With Friedman at the helm, NASDAQ has been more open than most toward cryptocurrencies. She told CNBC this past April, “Certainly Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time. If we do look at it and say ‘it’s time, people are ready for a more regulated market,’ for something that provides a fair experience for investors.”

At the end of July, the exchange reportedly held meetings in Chicago with several cryptocurrency exchanges. The meeting was allegedly designed to study how to advance cryptocurrency industry and increase awareness on a global scale.

NASDAQ is also reportedly looking to add additional support to its Analytics Hub, a platform that offers information on the buy side of trades and which includes data that is used by investors to make trading decisions. The new tools to be added to Analytics Hub would be designed specifically for the cryptocurrency market.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Regulator seeks to ‘bring together’ Singapore’s crypto operators, banks

Singapore’s financial regulatory body, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has taken it upon itself to “bring together” cryptocurrency companies and the banks, following complaints from crypto operators about the difficulties in setting up bank accounts in the sovereign city state, Bloomberg reported.

In an interview with the news outlet, MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon said the goal of the agency—which also operates as the country’s central bank—“is to bring the banks and cryptocurrency fintech startups together to see if there is some understanding they can reach.”

The Monetary Authority of Singapore may be willing to help crypto startups, but Menon clarified that the financial regulator will not be attracting crypto startups to Singapore using “an extremely lax regulatory environment.” According to Menon, banks are treading carefully in dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges and firms whose nature “is a bit different,” which means “banks may need to employ other ways in which they can establish bona fide.”

“I hope we can bring minds together on this so we that we can get over this hurdle,” Menon said, according to the report.

Singapore is working towards developing its financial technology sector as a means of creating jobs. The country, however, taking a cautious approach when it comes to the cryptocurrency industry, although Menon pointed out that its regulatory system is different from China—which bans crypto activities outright—and Japan, which has adopted a more welcoming approach to the nascent sector.

In Singapore, cryptocurrency activities fall under three categories: the first are utility tokens, which are used for purposes like payments, and therefore need “hardly any regulation.”

Digital tokens make up the second category, and these are governed by the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), according to Menon. Currently, only few initial coin offerings (ICOs) have made it to second category, since “most of them are careful to steer clear” of the line lest they incur “the full weight of the SFA.”

The third group, according to Menon, is composed of payment tokens like “highly risky” Bitcoin due to its price swings.

Menon explained, “If they are not security, then we don’t have a problem with it. We’ve seen quite a lot of ICO activity that is not security related. And there’s a lot of interesting business models out there trying to raise capital in interesting ways, which as far as the consumers are aware of what these are, we have no issues.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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South Korea position on ICOs out by November

The South Korean government will have an official position on initial coin offerings (ICOs) by the next month, even as the country’s top regulator maintains its desire to uphold the existing ban.

Local outlet The Investor reported that Office for Government Policy Coordination Chief Hong Nam-ki said at a parliamentary audit that the government was just waiting for results of a survey of local blockchain companies conducted in September by the Financial Supervisory Service.

“We have had several discussions [on ICOs]… Once the survey results are in by end-October, we plan to finalize the government’s stance,” Hong said, adding that the survey was done “as some companies are conducting or preparing for ICOs despite the ban here.”

ICOs have been prohibited in South Korea since September 2017, even as cryptocurrency exchanges have been allowed to operate. The country’s National Assembly has recommended the lifting of the ban, with an eye on coming up with a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in general. As things stand, South Koreans have simply availed of ICOs abroad, in lieu of local offerings.

Meanwhile, the Financial Services Commission remains dismissive of moves to once again allow ICOs, according to a report by news agency Yonhap News. FSC Chairman Choi Jong-ku said that “Although many people call for the government to allow initial coin offerings, there are still uncertainties related to such a move as well as the possibility of serious fallouts.”

Choi also said that the government wants to promote the blockchain industry, but that cryptocurrency exchanges are to continue to be strictly regulated.

Several South Korean exchanges have been the target of hackers, who have managed to take $30 million worth of cryptocurrencies from Bithumb, and about $40 million from Coinrail, just last June.

In spite of regulatory uncertainty and recent vulnerability of exchanges, the cryptocurrency trade has managed to thrive in the country. Last week, news came out that Singaporean blockchain consortium BK Global will be purchasing a majority stake in Bithumb for KRW400 billion ($354 million).

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

It was a fitting profile for the World Wide Web’s proclaimed father. A Vanity Fair feature, of all places, taken up by Katrina Booker, photographed by Olaf Blecker. Tim Berners-Lee (TBL), 63, Sir Tim Berners-Lee as he’s often introduced, is the well-regarded genius who many feel gave birth to the modern convenience of the internet, the stringing together of content and, later, our very lives. These days, he’s out to mend what he considers his rather broken creation.

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

Berners-Lee comes across as the absent minded professor, sentences not quite finishing as he moves frantically to another, seemingly related, topic and tech-filled abbreviation. In 1989, “Berners-Lee’s innovation was intended to help scientists share data across a then obscure platform called the Internet, a version of which the U.S. government had been using since the 1960s. But owing to his decision to release the source code for free—to make the Web an open and democratic platform for all—his brainchild quickly took on a life of its own,” Vanity Fair proposes, eerily describing another epoch-changing event given away by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Unlike Satoshi, Berners-Lee has been lauded ever since. Turing Award. Knighted. He, from the beginning “understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation.” For TBL, a final revelation in this regard happened with the 2016 American presidential election and things Russian, and after investigations of Facebook and its data breach via Cambridge Analytica.

Devastated, mind and body

“For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” TBL warns during the interview. Of the realization concerning what his invention wrought, he verbally clutches at pearls, couch fainting, “I was devastated. Actually, physically—my mind and body were in a different state.” Centralization of the web, he explained, “ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human. We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places.”

The article continues to offer TBL dark night of the soul quotes, such as how he “demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places,” and “ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

His pain has given way to a combative project, Solid. It’s an effort to reimagine the web, mitigating what he feels is pernicious corporate influence. He’s fond of repeating a statistical chestnut to buttress urgency: before the current year’s end, more than 3 billion people, something like half of humanity, will be online. The cascade impact of that many people seemingly integrating their lives into 1s and 0s makes the internet arguably the most important conversation anyone could have right now.

Solid

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?Maybe it’s important to store our tinfoil hats for a moment, or at least take them off for the time being. The web wasn’t taken hostage by maniacal actors. It was subsumed by the logic of what’s known as the Free Economy. Folks, at least so far, prefer free platforms, free access to kitty videos, fisting porn, news, etc. Gleefully, hundreds of millions, turning to billions, of people User Agreement-ed into behemoths the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google. Those became business models, algorithms, for how to succeed online. Important, too, is explaining these entities knew enough to capture elements of the regulatory state, the elected who carry a monopoly on violence: guns, courts, cages. Consumer confidence plus state sanction and support often lead to fuckery.

Vanity Fair interesting describes Berners-Lee as “methodically attempting to hack his creation.”  TBL examined in particular Facebook, “Looking at the ways algorithms are feeding people news and looking at accountability for the algorithms—all of that is really important for the open Web,” he said. The chestnut above returns, “Crossing 50 percent is going to be a moment to pause and think,” a point of contention he believes won’t empower the newly onboarded but will, instead, push them further behind. Indeed, it is a stark, Grand Canyon gap between Elon Musk’s web usage and relative freedom versus that of, say, “people in Ethiopia who have reasonable connectivity but they are totally being spied on,” Berners-Lee scolded.

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

“There are people working in the lab,” Berners-Lee elaborates on Solid, “trying to imagine how the Web could be different. How society on the Web could look different. What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data. We are building a whole eco-system.” Solid, then, is his attempt to once again decentralize the web, giving back to individuals what they handed over to corporations: data control. And he isn’t the only one concerned about the problem of centralization and the web. Ryan X. Charles, of Yours.org and Moneybutton fame, recently gave an interview where he explained how in the future users might be paid for such access to their data. Futurist George Gilder has written an entire book about the subject, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy. TBL is clearly on to something.

Early days

It’s early days for Solid, but because TBL swings such great influence it is worth exploring if only as an intellectual exercise (in case nothing comes of it). “Solid is an exciting new project led by Prof. Tim Berners-Lee,” their website immediately announces, “inventor of the World Wide Web, taking place at MIT. The project aims to radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership as well as improved privacy.”

The name itself is a neologism from “social linked data,”  “is a proposed set of conventions and tools for building decentralized social applications based on Linked Data principles. Solid is modular and extensible and it relies as much as possible on existing W3C standards and protocols,” they explain. They’re poised to offer three basic promises: “True data ownership: Users should have the freedom to choose where their data resides and who is allowed to access it. By decoupling content from the application itself, users are now able to do so. Modular design: Because applications are decoupled from the data they produce, users will be able to avoid vendor lock-in, seamlessly switching between apps and personal data storage servers, without losing any data or social connections. Reusing existing data: Developers will be able to easily innovate by creating new apps or improving current apps, all while reusing existing data that was created by other apps,” Solid claims.

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

With a goal of worldwide adoption, the project’s current status involves its startup, Inrupt, Inc. It is “building a commercial ecosystem to fuel Solid’s success and protect the integrity of the next phase of the web. Its mission is to restore rightful ownership of data back to every web user and unleash a new wave of innovation – for developers, for business, for everyone.” It’s also launching the Solid Community Site for “regular community updates, a wealth of developer resources and documentation, and general information about how Solid works.”

Reads like many initial coin offering (ICO) projects, to be honest. And, for all the talk and worry about governments and corporations, Solid has two main sponsors: CSAIL-Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) research collaboration and Mastercard. Go figure.

C. Edward Kelso is a financial technology journalist based in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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ICO falsely claiming SEC approval faces lawsuit

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has won the backing of a U.S. court to halt an initial coin offering (ICO) that has been making wild claims about its regulatory status.

In the latest example of the SEC ramping up efforts against scam coins and ICOs, the commission petitioned a court to secure an emergency order against Blockvest LLC and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold III.

The order concerns pre-ICO sales being promoted by the firm, which had been found to be claiming registered status and approval from the SEC—claims which were in fact untrue. This allegedly also included the use of SEC graphics and logos, ostensibly to convince investors on a false prospectus.

In a statement, the regulator said using the SEC seal without permission is in itself a violation of federal law.

“Blockvest and Ringgold, who also goes by the name Rasool Abdul Rahim El, were using the SEC seal without permission, a violation of federal law, and falsely claiming their crypto fund was ‘licensed and regulated,’” according to the SEC.

The SEC complaint also claimed 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.”

In response, a district court in California issued the order, which grants the SEC the powers to freeze company assets, while making several other provisions for emergency relief.

Robert A. Cohen of the SEC’s Enforcement Division Cyber Unit said, “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…The SEC does not endorse investment products and investors should be highly skeptical of any claims suggesting otherwise.”

The case is the latest example of the SEC clamping down on misleading and fraudulent ICOs, with several similar enforcement actions initiating and concluding in recent weeks. With regulators now increasingly determined to tackle this dubious corner of the crypto sector, it looks like time is running out for promoters of dodgy ICOs.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Companies struggle to keep up with ICO regulations: report

The regulatory environment for initial coin offerings (ICOs) remains uncertain, leaving thousands of firms open to sanctions, according to an investigative report published on Decrypt Media.

“Concerns over the legality of token sales have had a chilling effect,” read the report, a joint effort between Decrypt and Yahoo Finance.

Last September, a New York court ruled that ICOs involve the selling of securities and are covered by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. However, the details for compliance remain over these firms’ heads.

According to Decrypt, companies that the commission had subpoenaed earlier this year are being checked up on. “Many startups that have been subpoenaed say they are left in the dark struggling to satisfy the SEC’s demands, and are uncertain of how others are handling it,” the report read, adding that the SEC has subpoenaed more companies since.

Because the commission already views ICO products as securities, and may not publish further regulations that are blockchain-specific, Decrypt said, “[T]here’s even a lack of clarity around whether there is a lack of regulatory clarity.”

SEC Chief of Enforcement Division Cyber Unit Robert Cohen said that companies’ efforts at complying with regulations to limit their offering to accredited investors varied. “Some companies tell us the name of the law firm that advised them, explain the know-your-customer procedures they followed, and show us an investor list that is limited to accredited investors. At the other end of the spectrum, some point to a website statement about limiting the ICO to some investors, and possibly checkboxes, and that’s it.”

The report said that many companies called on by the SEC are simply refunding customers, to avoid further legal complications and costs. One unidentified company said, “The last thing we want is a press release they put out with only our name on it.”

However, those who have already issued their tokens are not able to simply refund the money. Chainalysis CEO Jony Levin said, “In a lot of cases people bought tokens in ICOs through exchange accounts at places like Kraken. So you can’t just send tokens back to the address you got them from, because that’s an exchange address. If ICOs are made to refund buyers, it will have to be similar to the Mt. Gox case: you make a public announcement and people have to prove they were a contributor.”

The Decrypt Media-Yahoo Finance investigatory report was based on conversations “with more than 15 industry sources,” many of whom requested anonymity.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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SEC wants subpoena enforced in $100M Cherubim ICO probe

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking steps to enforce a subpoena against an investment company and its sole trustee, over allegations of their fraudulent involvement in a $100-million initial coin offering (ICO).

In a statement published this week, the securities regulator said it was asking a district court to assist in enforcement action, as it continues to examine whether Jeffre James and Saint James Holding and Investment Company was involved in a “pump and dump” scheme around shares in Cherubim Interests, Inc.

The commission said it had reason to suspect Cherubim had misled investors around the SJTCoin. In particular, they suggest false public statements had been used to generate significant demand pressures in the market for Cherubim shares, which were later exploited by the Saint James and their trustee.

SEC said following its ongoing investigation, it has reason to believe that in a bid to “pump” its stock price, Cherubim issued false public statements in January 2018 claiming that the company had executed a $100,000,000 financing commitment to launch an ICO for St. James Trust.

“After Cherubim’s stock price and trading volume increased on this news, certain individuals associated with the company may have ‘dumped’ their overvalued Cherubim stock for significant profits,” according to the regulator.

Despite being personally served with court documents, neither James nor Saint James have responded to date. As a result, the SEC has now progressed matters through the courts, in a bid to obtain the requested documents from both parties.

The SEC said it is seeking “an order from the court compelling James and St. James Trust to produce all responsive documents.” The court must now decide whether to compel the parties to cooperate, in submitted the documents requested under the subpoena.

The news is in line with the SEC’s warning issued back in August 2017 that it would pursue those using ICOs to defraud and scam unsuspecting crypto investors.

It marks the latest high profile case involving the SEC, as the regulator continues to make its presence felt around dubious investments and outright scams blighting the cryptocurrency sector.

It remains to be seen whether Saint James, or Jeffre James himself, will now step up their cooperation with the authorities investigating the issue.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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