The long march of crypto enforcement actions continued today when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed charges against Dropil and founders Jeremy McAlpine, Zachary Matar, and Patrick O’Hara pertaining to an initial coin offering (ICO).
As has become fairly commonplace, the SEC is alleging the sale of unregistered securities pertaining to the sale of DROP tokens that apparently raised $1.8 million. In the filing, the SEC claims the defendants reported that amount as $54 million.
Additionally, the SEC Enforcement Division alleges that the company founders sold DROP tokens claiming the funds would be pooled to trade various digital assets by a “trading bot,” called Dex. Dropil allegedly claimed the trading would generate profits that would be distributed as additional DROP tokens every 15 days.
Instead of using investor money to trade with Dex, Dropil allegedly diverted the funds raised to other projects and to the founders’ personal digital asset and bank accounts.
The SEC claims that Dropil created fake Dex profitability reports and made payments in the form of DROPs to Dex users, giving the false appearance that Dex was operational and profitable.
All of this took place from January 2018 through March 2020 – well after the SEC DAO report that pretty much told the world ICOs were required to be registered as securities – or else.
As is typical with these cases, the SEC is demanding that Dropil return all the money and pay civil penalties.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today sued ICOBox and its founder Nikolay Evdokimov for conducting an illegal $14 million securities offering of ICOBox’s digital tokens and for acting as unregistered brokers for other digital asset offerings.
According to the SEC’s complaint, ICOBox raised funds in 2017 to develop a platform …
Image: GettyZen master goblin Steven Seagal, last seen promoting a straight-to-DVD action flick for fans such as Vladimir Putin–and also in sexual abuse allegations–has agreed to pay the SEC a total of $330,448.76 for failing to disclose the details of his financial relationship with the intriguingly-named cryptocurrency “Bitcoiin2Gen.” …
ICO (Initial Coin Offering) projects have been struggling hard over the recent years to achieve their ultimate business objectives due to various issues like scams, lack of transparency and lack of awareness about crypto market values. This gives rise to the birth of innovative trends in crypto regulations in the …
Any new blockchain startup needs funding, but where does that all-important juice come from? While venerable entities (let’s not list them, presumably, you know what and who they are) certainly have the means to plank billions into their chosen ventures, they can’t be expected to finance the entire ecosystem. So, what are the alternatives?
Whatever sense you put into the term “Initial exchange offering,” they became somewhat popular in 2019 with Binance listing several big ones. The actual difference between IEO and ICO is rather opaque. Still, May alone has brought us eight IEOs launched on Binance, Okex, Huobi, Bittrex and Kucoin raising collectively over $1.5 billion. Further down the road, though, things got a bit dicey with just one IEO left standing by the end of the year.
However, at this point, saying farewell to IEOs is a bit premature. There may be fewer of them in 2020, but with more pressure for profit on exchanges, we can hope for the “less is more” paradigm coming into play. This month we’re looking at several offerings on Coinsbit including Wolfs Group, a consulting service specializing in investments in strategic technologies including paytech.
Saying farewell to IEOs is a bit premature. There may be fewer of them in 2020 but with more pressure for profit, we can hope for the less is more paradigm coming into play
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Also, quantum-proof enterprise-grade blockchain QAN will run an IEO on Bitbay on January 20, distributing 88,888,800 QARK tokens on its platform that utilizes a Proof-of-Randomness (PoR) protocol and is able to run smart contracts in all major programming languages. No new IEOs on Binance or other tier-one exchanges, though, but we can probably write off the apparent slow-down to the holiday season during which crowdfunding efforts cool down dramatically.
At any rate, research published on December 23, incidentally, shows that IEOs lost investors up to 98% of their money in 2019, which could be a pretty firm basis for thinking that IEOs have peaked, and expecting something exciting from them in 2020 is pointless.
Ah, the IPOs…
Will there be an IPO a renaissance after some astoundingly scandalous offerings of 2019? I guess. It’s conceivable that a hybrid crypto fundraising model resembling IPOs could gain traction in 2020. The online gaming and media platform World Chess has recently touted a hybrid IPO for 2020, wherein crypto tokens will be distributed before shares are floated on the stock market. MERJ, the national stock exchange of Seychelles, also announced an IPO of its tokenized shares back in September with a bold claim of being the first fully regulated stock exchange to list tokenized securities worldwide.
It’s conceivable that a hybrid crypto fundraising model resembling IPOs could gain traction in 2020
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Crowdfunding Equity via STOs
Equity crowdfunding via Security Token Offerings (STOs) will play a major role in 2020 and the coming years with angel investors seeking to finally capitalize on crypto businesses they’ve been bootstrapping. For instance, the online investment platform BnkToTheFuture that launched its STO recently saw a 61% increase in crypto investments. Sony Financial Ventures contributed to Bitwala funding round of a $14.5 million. Coinbase Ventures claim they’ve invested in 60 crypto startups over the last few years.
In 2019 Binance was on an acquisition streak promising several more in 2020. In other words, raising capital via regulated hybrid equity sales is fast becoming the norm for a reason: it’s fast, secure, highly transparent, thus infinitely convenient for all involved.
BnkToTheFuture that launched its #STO recently saw a 61% increase in crypto investments. Sony Financial Ventures contributed to Bitwala funding round of a $14.5 million
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More and more seasoned investors choose strong economic models, experienced teams and viable roadmaps over the hype and hyperbole ICOs and IEOs used to offer. Serious venture funding is no longer about VC blockchains foisting heavily-discounted tokens on unassuming retail investors. If anyone, Hedera Hashgraph and Blockstack can testify to that!
As a strong economic model, Security Token Offering gained heavily in 2019. As a regulated fundraising model, STOs are deployed across various sectors of the economy, including financial services, greentech, agriculture, the energy sector, commercial and residential real estate, and many others. To date, we’ve witnessed 64 successful STOs, which have collectively raised close to $1 billion. No doubt, this trend will continue eventually leading to mass adoption of this mode of crowdfunding on a global scale.
Raising capital via regulated hybrid equity sales is fast becoming the norm for a reason: it’s fast, secure, highly transparent, thus infinitely convenient for all involved
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Funding equities of tomorrow is not going to be easy. The prerequisites of successfully raising capital are going to coincide more with common sense and be less prone to hyped-up marketing pitches. Whatever mode of crowdfunding works for you and your business, demonstrating real-world utility, earning potential, and presenting multiple avenues for rapid growth are going to be essential.
Also, let’s not get over-excited and make grand claims that in 2020 startups will surpass the 2018’s record of $21.6 billion in venture funding. At the very least, that would be too optimistic. Still, news editors for the industry press are not about to see their workload diminish: in 2020 we will see more intriguing projects roll off the whatever assembly lines they get put together on, but the real question we’ll need to find the answer for is which one of the future startups we’ll be hearing about in 2021.
Whatever mode of #crowdfunding works for you and your business, demonstrating real-world utility, earning potential, and presenting multiple avenues for rapid growth are going to be essential
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Ilia Obraztsov is an experienced technologist, visioner and business leader skilled to deliver efficient and robust proprietary solutions that rapidly facilitate the transformation from the startup phase to a fully-funded global enterprise. Over his 10-year career in the technology sphere, Ilia has quickly moved through the ranks of the IT sector growing from a backend engineer in a Russia-based machine learning company to CTO of multiple California-based fintech startups. In this role, he specialized primarily in full-cycle product development – cloud solutions, storage design, fault-tolerant and high-load systems, security, event-driven architectures, distributed and scalable apps, blockchain, smart-contract and distributed ledger technologies. He is now CEO of Smartlands, a global digital securities issuance and investment platform headquartered in London, UK. Smartlands is a worldwide platform for the tokenisation of real economy assets by issuing security tokens. Founded in 2017, Smartlands is based in London, UK. The platform was the first in the UK to tokenize a real estate investment offering.
Feb 01, 2020 (Xherald via COMTEX) — Global Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Copolymer Market Size, Status and Forecast 2020-2026
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced another enforcement action targeting a bogus initial coin offering (ICO). According to a release, the SEC has charged convicted criminal Boaz Manor, his business associate, and two businesses, CG Blockchain Inc. and BCT Inc. SEZC, with raising over $30 million from hundreds of investors in a fraudulent ICO of BCT Tokens.
According to the SEC, from August 2017 and September 2018, Manor and his associates marketed and sold digital asset securities in a purported effort to develop technologies for hedge funds and other investors in digital assets.
The SEC says that central to the ICO was the Defendants’ recruitment of consultants to whom defendants referred to as “advisors.”
The complaint states that in May 2017, defendants hired an unnamed executive who had previously served in senior roles in the technology departments of two major financial services firms, to be the stated President of the CGB Entities. In reality, the SEC alleges this individual reported directly to Manor.
These “advisors” were compensated in Tokens, cash advances, or digital currency for assisting defendants in the administration of the ICO, and also solicited investors, using the marketing materials prepared under Manor’s direction. Many of the “advisors” were themselves investors in the ICO.
The SEC alleges that Manor, from Toronto, Canada, attempted to disguise his appearance and used aliases to hide his identity. Manor had previously spent a year in prison having plead guilty to charges from the collapse of a Canadian hedge fund.
The SEC claims that Manor portrayed his New Jersey-based associate Edith Pardo as the owner of the businesses, and presented himself as an employee of hers named “Shaun MacDonald.”
The SEC states that Manor allegedly admitted to certain investors that he concealed his identity because its disclosure would result in “the company being destroyed.”
The SEC alleges that the defendants claimed to have 20 hedge funds testing technology to record transactions on a distributed ledger or blockchain. In reality, the defendants had only sent a prototype to a dozen funds, and none of the funds used it or paid for it.
Joseph G. Sansone, Chief of the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit, stated:
“Learning about the identity and background of the individual or individuals behind a venture is one of the first things we tell investors to do before trusting anyone with their money. As alleged in our complaint, Manor’s brazen scheme to conceal his identity and criminal history deprived investors of essential information and allowed defendants to take over $30 million from investors’ pockets.”
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey today announced criminal charges against Manor, a dual citizen of Canada and Israel, and Pardo, an Israeli citizen.
The SEC is charging Manor and Pardo with violating the antifraud and securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws and seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest, penalties, and injunctive relief.
Additionally, the SEC seeks orders barring Manor and Pardo from acting as officers or directors of public companies and from participating in future securities offerings.
Immutability, where written data is “forever” tamper-resistant. The ability to create and transfer assets on the network, without reliance on a central entity, based on a decentralized consensus mechanism. This is what powered Bitcoin, which opened up the realm of possibilities, but also spurred an immense wave of speculation, ignorance, and fraud.
Today, blockchain seems to have hit rock bottom. Gartner is placing blockchain at the bottom of the Trough of Disillusionment. Scams such as Onecoin and Bitfinex – Tether exemplify the Wild West that blockchain has become, and Facebook’s Libra is not getting traction either — which is a good thing.
Even leaving speculators out of the picture. However, there still are technical issues to resolve. A database with poor performance, inability to interface with the outside world, and no query language to speak of is not exactly a solid substrate for applications. This is where blockchain is today. But here comes the good news: Yes, blockchain will have a transformational impact across industries in five to ten years.
Although enterprise blockchain implementations do exist — check JP Morgan’s Quorum or Oracle’blockchain Platform — the blockchain landscape in the 2020s will probably be very different. It may not even go by the same name: Distributed Ledger Technology is a better match for a technology, which may not really be a blockchain anymore. DLTs will be front and center in the 2020s.
4. On cloud No. 9… or, on how many clouds actually?
This one should be rather familiar. The gradual move of applications and data to the cloud has been a recurring theme on Big on Data. A decade ago, for most businesses, the cloud was not really an option for data and compute at scale. Hadoop was all the rage – a synonym for Big Data, for all intents and purposes. Today’s world is very different.
But mobility goes both ways. Every database today has a managed offering in the cloud or is in the process of getting one. With databases getting increasingly complex to manage, and the ability to get on-demand storage and compute for their needs offering major advantages, managed databases in the cloud are a natural evolution.
Today, when choosing a data management solution, the shortlist almost always includes an offering by a cloud vendor. Being cloud-native, managed, and billed via a single control plane, and having multi-region availability makes cloud vendor offerings attractive. On the other hand, those offerings are not multi-cloud and are not always the best of the breed.
In other words, open-source is winning, in databases and beyond. There are some very good reasons why this is happening: low barrier to entry, community, innovation, interoperability. But the fact that open source is becoming the norm in enterprise software has side effects, too. To put it simply: AWS is eating open-source software because it can.
This is really about much more than databases and vendors. What this really is about is business models around shared resources and fair contribution and reward around those shared resources. Open-source software is free as in speech, but not free as in beer. Someone has to build the software, and then someone has to maintain, run, and manage it.
So, it all comes down to how much each actor gives and takes, and whether this should somehow be accounted for. Clearly, this is a much broader topic than what we could possibly address here, so a piece crystallizing thoughts and exchanges on the topic is due. In the meanwhile, let us be reminded of another example of a “free” shared resource — the web.
Much of the trouble with the web and the monopolies built around it today stem from the failure to operate a workable business model around it. In its absence, the Googles and Facebooks of the world have been eager to step up and fill that void, dominating the web and installing ad-based empires in the process. Making the same mistake twice would not be wise, and this deserves to be a top priority for the 2020s.
Join us for part 2 of the 5+1 technology trends for the roaring 20s next week: AI, Knowledge Graphs, to infinity and beyond.
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