SEC settles with blockchain company over unregistered ICO
On June 22, the SEC announced a settlement with an intellectual property search software platform provider and its CEO resolving allegations that the company made materially false and misleading statements in connection with an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO) of digital asset securities. According to the order, the company raised $7.6 million from investors by offering and selling digital tokens. In promoting the ICO, the company and its CEO made multiple materially false statements to investors and potential investors, including false statements about the company’s revenues, number of employees, and the platform’s user base. The SEC alleges that the company violated Section 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act because the digital assets it offered and sold were securities under federal securities laws, and the company did not have the required registration statement filed or in effect, nor did it qualify for an exemption from registration. The order, which the company consented to without admitting or denying the findings, imposes a $7.6 million penalty, and requires the company to “destroy all [of the digital tokens] in their possession or control,” publish notice of the order on the company’s social media accounts, request removal of the tokens from trading platforms, and refrain from participating in future offerings of a digital asset security.