Moshe Hogeg, a known cryptocurrency entrepreneur in Israel, is reportedly facing embezzlement charges in connection with the missing funds from two initial coin offerings (ICOs). According to local media outlets, the petition against Hogeg was brought to court by 17 shareholders of the now-defunct Israeli binary option company, AnyOption.
The Times of Israel reported that the petitioners sought to liquidate IDC Investdotcom Holdings, a Cypriot company that was operated from Israel and associated with Hogeg. In their petition, the shareholders claimed Hogeg stole assets and profits from the company, rendering it insolvent.
The petition further explained that the company, which is better known as Invest.com, held two successful ICOs with each collecting “tens of millions of dollars.” Hogeg, however, allegedly did not share the revenue from the token crowdsales with the shareholders per their contractual agreement.
According to reports, issues between the shareholders and Hogen rose after the crypto entrepreneur failed to meet new agreement terms. The changes started when AnyOption was forced to merge with Invest.com in June 2017 before the Israeli government ban on binary option took effect in October of the same year. As filed by Shy Datoka, one of the primary shareholders of AnyOption, Invest.com was interested in getting all the assets that AnyOption had to offer. Initially, Invest.com offered forex and CFD trading to investors, but later it decided to try to raise money through ICOs.
The two companies changed their merger agreement terms in early 2018. The companies originally agreed that shareholders from AnyOption would own 35% of Invest.com, but under the new terms, the shareholders were entitled to $3.5 million and a share or token of a new cryptocurrency company they launched, called Stox.
Stox raised $34 million in ETH in August 2017, although the value later rose to $60 million. The crypto company also held another ICO in February for a project called Zodiac, which raised $33 million, according to the petition.
A spokesperson for Hogeg told reporters that Zodiac is a private project and has never issued any tokens, claiming that all shareholders belonging to AnyOption had received all their tokens in Stox.
This year, Hogeg has ventured into what many may term as a shopping spree. He recently bought a parcel of land in Tel Aviv at $19 million. He also bought the Israeli top soccer club Beitar Jerusalem for $7.2 million. Hogeg is also reported to have donated $1.9 million to Tel Aviv University, which will build a blockchain research facility that will be named after him.
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The Bank of Israel (BOI) has published its findings following an investigation into the feasibility of issuing digital currency, and whether blockchain technology should be integrated into central payment systems.
After devoting a team of researchers to establishing whether the bank should move towards a digital currency of its own, the findings have come back negative, with the bank advised to continue to study and monitor cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies before committing to a state-backed token.
The central bank, a lynchpin of the Israeli financial system, is one of several central banks worldwide to be actively considering digital currencies, and the merits of launching a state-backed digital currency that could ultimately rival or replace cash denominated in local currency.
However, while researchers identified several key benefits, they concluded the technology was still too premature.
According to a statement issued by BOI, the conditions in Israel are not yet amenable to a central bank digital currencies (CBDC). It noted, “The team’s work shows that there is currently no uniform specification for central bank digital currencies. Its accessibility (to the entire public or only to financial institutions), the method of issuance (balanced-based or token-based), the extent of anonymity in its use, and whether it will bear interest, can all be determined.”
The BOI document presented the possible objectives of issuing a CBDC, which include making payments more efficient and supporting the existing payments system to possibly improve redundancy, as well as “maintaining the public’s access to the central bank’s liability, in the event that the use of cash declines significantly as is happening in Sweden.”
However, the bank pointed out that “this issue is not relevant to Israel at this time.”
The BOI said that while the currency may eventually be used as an additional monetary tool, that wouldn’t be the main objective behind its issue in the near term.
“Under certain specifications, and particularly if it bears interest, the e-shekel can be an additional monetary tool, but that is not a main objective of issuing it,” according to the bank.
The development comes at a time of increasing interest in cryptocurrencies from central banks vying to integrate blockchain technology into their domestic financial system.
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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