Initial Coin Offerings

DOJ Announces Establishment of Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud; SEC Chairman Highlights Actions Involving ICOs

Earlier today, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced that the President issued an executive order establishing a new Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud, comprised of a number of divisions of the Department of Justice (DOJ), including the FBI and various United States Attorney’s Offices as designated…

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State and Federal Regulators Coordinate Efforts to Combat Crypto Fraud

This past week was a busy one for state securities regulators, the CFTC and the SEC as they continue their focus on rooting out fraud from the digital currency space and crypto- and blockchain-based ventures.  Noteworthy developments included (1) the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announcing a “cryptosweep” –…

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U.S. v. Zaslavskiy: DOJ and SEC Coordination in Enforcing the Securities Laws over Token Sales

In the fall of 2017, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) each filed actions against Maksim Zaslavskiy for securities fraud in connection with two token offerings, through which he promised token purchasers profits from his companies’ investments in real estate and diamonds. …

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SEC Exams To Focus On ICOs And Cryptocurrency

On February 7, 2018, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its 2018 Examination Priorities.  In what comes as no surprise, the exam priorities include initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency, stating the following: “The cryptocurrency and ICO markets have grown rapidly and present a number of…

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ICOs in 2018: Increased Regulatory Scrutiny, and Alternatives to Traditional "Utility" Token ICOs

As originally published by Brave New Coin, January 19, 2018. As we transition from 2017 into 2018, there has been an increase in SEC and state regulator activity in the area of Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), as the agencies seek to determine (i) whether certain ICOs constitute a sale of unregistered securities;…

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SEC and CFTC Enforcement Directors Issue Joint Statement Regarding Virtual Currency Enforcement Actions

On January 19, 2018, SEC Co-Enforcement Directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin and CFTC Enforcement Director James McDonald issued the following joint statement regarding virtual currency enforcement actions: “When market participants engage in fraud under the guise of offering digital instruments – whether characterized as virtual currencies, coins, tokens, or…

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FINRA Targets ICOs and Digital Currencies in Annual Broker Exam Priorities Letter

On January 8, 2018, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released its 2018 Annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter (Exam Priorities Letter) for its broker-dealer members.  In the Exam Priorities Letter, FINRA addresses initial coin offerings (ICOs) and digital currencies, stating the following: “FINRA will closely monitor developments in this…

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Massachusetts Securities Regulator Announces "Aggressive Policing" of Cryptocurrency Firms

On December 15, 2017, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin announced that his office’s Securities Division (“MSD”) would begin “aggressive policing” of cryptocurrency sales in Massachusetts.  The MSD regulates the offering and sale of securities in Massachusetts.  The MSD can seek a range of civil remedies for violation of the…

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New Year Brings Flurry of Regulatory Statements and Warnings Directed at Cryptocurrencies and ICOs

On the same day that a meteorological blizzard slammed the Eastern Seaboard, U.S. financial regulators unleashed their own flurry of statements and warnings surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies.  Bundle up, because if the first week of the year is a prelude of things to come, then 2018 is…

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SEC Alerts On Initial Coin Offerings Are The Two Most Popular For 2017 (3 Of The Top 10 Overall)

The SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy recently issued a bulletin listing its 10 most popular Investor Alerts and Bulletins for 2017.  Numbers 1 (Initial Coin Offerings) and 2 (Public Companies Making ICO-related Claims) specifically related to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and number 9 (Celebrity Endorsements) arguably was also…

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