Showing posts with label sec. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sec. Show all posts

Ethereum ETFs Next to Be Approved?


As BTC ETF anticipation gripped the market last year, traders have been looking at ether as the next likely candidate to get spot ETF approval in the U.S.

Will the SEC Approve an ETH ETF? Let's look at the arguments both ways...

Why Some Believe the SEC will DENY The Applications...

JPMorgan's analysts are skeptical. “While we are sympathetic... we are skeptical that the SEC will classify ether as a commodity as soon as May” lead analyst Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou said in a note to clients on Jan. 18, adding that the chances of approval of a spot ether ETF by May this year is “not higher than 50%.”

The main reason - Ethereum’s transition from the proof-of-work to proof-of-stake consensus mechanism in 2022 and the negative impact this has had on decentralization.  

Ether now looks similar to altcoins the SEC has classified as securities.

Why Some Think an ETH ETF Will Soon be APPROVED...

The SEC recently sued virtually every major US crypto exchange for selling unlicensed securities, providing all with a list of which coins they believe violate regulations - Ethereum was missing from all of them. 

Another potentially positive sign is the approval of ether futures-based ETFs in September last year, which implies the SEC has officially deemed Ethereum a commodity.

Note that the ETH Futures ETF's that were approved last year are generally used for speculative or hedging purposes - with a 'futures' ETF no party involved needs to actually purchase any crypto. Investors instead buy contracts where they attempt to guess what the price will be on preset dates the contract expires. A true ETF, like what was just approved for bitcoin, requires the company selling shares of the ETF it to truly own the coins the ETF represents, and the only price that matters is the actual price it is trading at.

What You Can Do Now...

Both sides have some very valid points/concerns, so what does that mean? In my opinion, the main takeaway is that there are legitimate reasons to speculate ETH ETF's may be approved.

Sure, same goes for it being denied, however, current ETH holders did not invest because they believed an ETF was eventually coming, so the potential of one being denied won't cause current investors to sell. However, the potential an ETF being approved brings in new buyers and causes existing investors to buy more.

This scenario where existing investors see no reason to sell if the ETF news is bad, while the potential for good news becomes a reason for people to buy, can only result in gains as anticipation builds. Of course, a non-ETF related story that overshadows everything could happen as well - but unless it does, there may be a great short-term opportunity regardless of the final outcome.

Author: Justin Derbek
New York News Desk
Global Crypto Press Association / Breaking Crypto News

Ripple Team MOCKS The SEC Following Another Legal Win "This is not a settlement - This is a surrender by the SEC"...

SEC vs Ripple

The SEC's legal battle against Ripple involved coming after them on 2 fronts - first was their claim the company illegally profited by selling an unlicensed security (XRP Tokens) violating the Securities Act of 1933. The second targeted the company's co-founders Christian Larsen and Bradley Garlinghouse, saying they were the ones who made the decisions at the company, so they were charged with "aiding and abettting”.

Today, the SEC's targeting of Larsen and Garlinghouse has officially come to an end as District Judge Analisa Torres announced that the US securities regulator notified the court that it would not continue in the case and has issued a “voluntary dismissal”.

Ripple's lead lawyer Stuart Alderoty shared the news first saying;

"The SEC made a serious mistake going after Brad & Chris personally – and now, they’ve capitulated, dismissing all charges against our executives. This is not a settlement. This is a surrender by the SEC.

That’s 3 consecutive wins for Ripple including the July 13 decision ruling that as a matter of law XRP is NOT a security, the Oct 3 decision denying the SEC’s bid for an interlocutory appeal, and now this." on X.

Current CEO Brad Garlinghouse responded saying;

"In all seriousness, Chris and I (in a case involving no claims of fraud or misrepresentations) were targeted by the SEC in a ruthless attempt to personally ruin us and the company so many have worked hard to build for over a decade.

The SEC repeatedly kept its eye off the ball while secretly meeting with the likes of SBF – failing again and again to protect US consumers & businesses. How many millions of taxpayer $ were wasted?! Feels good to finally be vindicated."

FTX a Massive Blemish On An Already Troubled SEC...

The SEC's 'crack down' on crypto has targeted companies like Coinbase, Binance and Ripple - but where are the investors accusing these companies of wrongdoing? Who did Coinbase, Binance, or Ripple scam? You would think reddit and other crypto related forums would be full of these complaints, but when searching for terms that should lead to them, nothing is found.

While the SEC was busy targeting these companies, FTX was actively misusing users funds and behaving suspiciously fearless of being caught.  Ironically, it was one of the people under SEC investigation who brought the FTX issue to light - Binance CEO 'CZ'.

This means if CZ had not exposed Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX would still be freely spending their users funds, while their top 2 competitors faced SEC harassment - suspicious to say the least.

It makes you wonder - could SEC deliberately be hiding corruption by appearing ignorant and disorganized? 

The Strangest Contradiction...

The most alarming and confusing factor in the SEC's current actions has to be the fact that the SEC evaluated Coinbase just a couple years ago, when they approved the company to go public and sale shares of their stock.  This process involves a deep evaluation of the business, and obviously, if a business's main source of income was unlawful, they would not have been approved.

But they were approved. Coinbase even passed a phase where the SEC asked questions about any parts of the business they wanted clarification on, Coinbase answered them, and they were approved. 

Nothing has changed since Coinbase was worthy of SEC approval. There's no new leadership at the SEC since they deemed Coinbase's business legitimate just two years ago, Coinbase isn't offering anything now that they were not then. But seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly Coinbase is operating outside of the law. 

So SEC saying;  just because they approved a company seeking approval to go public and sell share shares on the stock market, it does not mean that company is legitimate - no one has been able to make sense of why the SEC is now undermining themselves in such an extreme way.

Next For Ripple...

While the charges against company founders are dropped, the case against the company itself is still considered ongoing.  While the SEC lost on their first attempt, the last statement from them was that they are appealing that decision.

But some say dropping the charges against the founders is a sign they may do the same with the charges against the company - because if the company is guilty, those running it would be as well - it would be odd to drop one and not the other.

Author: Mark Pippen
London Newsroom
GlobalCryptoPress | Breaking Crypto News

The TRUTH About The SEC's Lawsuit Against Binance - Why The SEC Has NOT Been Telling The FULL Story...

SEC sues Binance

Just a month ago, the scent of a showdown was in the air when Gary Gensler, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed his distaste for Binance during an interrogation by Congress. Labeling the cryptocurrency exchange as a deceiver of customers and a circumventor of U.S. securities laws, Gensler signaled a storm brewing on the horizon.

Fast forward to today, Binance finds itself squarely in the SEC's sights. A formal lawsuit against Binance, its CEO, and associated parties has been filed, alleging severe breaches of federal securities laws. According to the SEC, these supposed violations jeopardized investors' assets and enabled the accused to unlawfully accumulate profits totaling billions.

Before diving into the lawsuit, it's important to understand how things got here...

There are some vital details that set the stage for the ensuing legal battle. This is not your regular SEC operation.

- SEC Chairman Gary Gensler is one of the most contentious leaders to date.

His leadership style significantly deviates from his predecessors, instigating a tense atmosphere between the SEC and regulated firms.

Formerly, the SEC used to handle compliance issues in a manner that fostered dialogue between enterprises and regulators. However, attempts to uphold this tradition of open communication under Gensler's leadership were met with silence. A notable point of concern is Gensler's often refusal to respond to inquiries, even when he is the sole authority capable of answering.

His silence speaks volumes when firms, after being overlooked, find themselves on the receiving end of an SEC lawsuit. "Leveraging enforcement actions to interpret law in a burgeoning industry is neither an effective nor equitable regulatory approach," argues a congressional representative.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler takes questions from Congress.

- Under Gensler we have witnessed a large number of disgruntled employees leaving the SEC, and unhappy businesses leaving the country...

Gensler's management style has been controversial, eliciting criticism from within the SEC. Commissioner Hester Pierce described his leadership as 'lethargic,' critiquing the reliance on enforcement actions for legislative interpretation in an emerging industry as inefficient and unfair.

- The most concerning illustration of the SEC's broken leadership: its interaction with Coinbase.

Despite obtaining SEC approval and listing on the stock exchange following detailed disclosure of operations, Coinbase, without any operational changes, received a Wells Notice stating an impending lawsuit for potential violations.

Essentially, after SEC approval and US investors buying hundreds of millions of dollars of coinbase stock, that stock is now at risk of the agency that approved it, now out to crash it - all with no changes in business operations since it was approved. 

*Update* - One day after this article was published the 'impending lawsuit' referenced above was executed.

- Criticized for Missing in Action When the SEC was Actually Needed - FTX Debacle Occurred on Gensler's Watch.

While firms seeking guidance were ignored, then slapped with lawsuits for violating undisclosed rules, FTX, under Gensler's supervision, ascended to be the #2 global exchange free of any interference. Ironically, the Binance CEO, now facing a lawsuit, exposed FTX's underlying fraud.

The SEC nowhere to be found as users traded assets that were non-existent or misplaced due to FTX's deficient and fraudulent accounting.

- These are not criminal charges.

The lawsuit seeks financial penalties for regulation violations. No criminal incarceration can result from the legal actions taken thus far.

- A recurring name you will see in the charges 'BAM Trading'.

Listed as the 'owner' of, BAM Trading was purportedly created to comply with U.S. laws. However, the SEC alleges that CEO CZ controls both and, implying that BAM Trading is merely a facade for Binance's U.S. operations.

Armed with this background, let's delve into the lawsuit:

The SEC accuses Binance and BAM Trading of deceptive practices, enticing U.S. investors into buying, selling, and trading crypto assets through their unregistered online platforms, and Binance.US. The defendants are alleged to have offered unauthorized crypto asset securities, imperiling investor wealth.

The charges extend to Binance and BAM Trading's operations, helmed by Zhao Changpeng, for providing securities market services—trading, brokering, and clearing—on their platforms without SEC authorization.

Moreover, the lawsuit alleges that Binance and BAM Trading partook in illegal, unregistered offers and sales of crypto asset securities, concealing crucial investment-related information.

Another accusation centers on BAM Trading and BAM Management's deceitful promises about the Binance.US Platform's controls, while allegedly accumulating about $200 million from private investors and billions in trading volume.

The lawsuit goes on to accuse Binance of an underground operation, alleging a multi-step strategy since 2018 to evade U.S. laws. The scheme involved the establishment of BAM entities in the U.S. under Zhao and Binance's control, disguised as independent operators of the Binance.US Platform.

Furthermore, the defendants are accused of circumventing U.S. regulatory oversight while providing securities-related services to U.S. clients. The defendants also reportedly failed to implement vital trading surveillance or manipulative trading controls, leading to 'wash trading' and self-dealing on the Binance.US Platform.

The lawsuit portrays Binance and BAM Trading as willful evaders of key disclosure requirements and other investor and market protections, thereby violating the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Yes, 1934 is when the laws they are applying to crypto trading in the US were authored.  Many point out 'that's decades before blockchain tech was invented' - I point out that color TV's were still 20 YEARS away.

Binance Vows to Stand Its Ground...

As this report was in preparation, both and Binance.US responded.

Binance.US's response emphasized that "the lawsuit is baseless, and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously." The full statement is available on their Twitter account. denounced the SEC's actions on their website, asserting the SEC has "zero justification" to suggest customer assets were at risk. They stated that instead of engaging in a productive dialogue about the platform's safety and security, the SEC preferred to "make headlines."

CEO and Founder of Binance 'CZ' also took to Twitter, sarcastically polling "Who protects you more?" between the SEC and Binance—with Binance has an 85% lead, but obviously this isn't an accurate polling method. He also retweeted the SEC Chairman's lawsuit announcement, provocatively asking "Wonder if he ever reads the comments under his post, from the consumers he is suppose to protect?" 

Author: Mark Pippen
London News Desk | Breaking Crypto News

MAJOR FALLOUT: Congressman Wants SEC Head Gary Gensler UNDER INVESTIGATION + Review of Actions Leading up to FTX Collapse...

Gary Gensler SEC

In a sign of how seriously this is being taken, the investigation into Biden's appointed head of the SEC comes from a member of his own party, Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) is requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct review of the SEC’s actions leading up to FTX’s collapse last month.

The letter largely focuses on SEC chair Gary Gensler for exclusively claiming regulatory powers over crypto exchanges, but failing to properly regulate them...

“If the SEC has the authority Mr. Gensler claims, why did he fail to uncover the largest crypto Ponzi scheme in US history?” Torres wrote. “One cannot have it both ways, asserting authority while avoiding accountability.”

Torres continues to drill into the Chairman "The operating principle of the SEC must be protection for the investing public, rather than publicity for the political appointee in charge" a reminder of Gensler's investigation into Kim Kardashian's tweet promoting a cryptocurrency, concerned that Gensler was preoccupied with inconsequential but high-profile acts while ignoring less glamorous but necessary responsibilities.

The letter goes as far as basically accusing Gensler of causing the SEC to fall apart under his leadership...

"Mr. Gensler's leadership has discouraged the SEC's professional personnel to an unprecedented degree, with the SEC Inspector General reporting the greatest turnover rate in a decade... to what extent has Mr. Gensler’s demoralization of his own personnel hamstrung the Commission in the fulfillment of its obligation to protect investors?” Torres asks in his request to the GAO.

One of those demoralized colleagues is SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, who has remarked in interviews that Gensler's approach to regulation is "not a good way to regulate" and is not surprised to hear that many have "given up on us."

When it comes to crypto, Gensler has consistently avoided explaining the rules or sharing concerns - organizations only discover they violated regulations when enforcement actions are taken against them.

The SEC has the ability to issue a company an 'exceptive order' which basically results from the company's leaders being able to come in and address concerns with SEC officials. If the SEC believes they are operating outside of the rules unintentionally, this exceptive order serves as an agreement that allows the company to fix what is wrong within a limited timeframe, and the SEC agrees to hold off any enforcement actions against them during that timeframe. 

Zero exceptive orders have been issued since Gensler took over, which shows how badly he destroyed what should be a healthy relationship between regulators and the companies they regulate.

Legitimate businesses should never fear requesting the SEC review their plans or practices, to verify they are in compliance with all relevant regulations. Under Gensler, companies fear they'll leave the meeting with an enforcement action against them.

SEC agents who previously believed their role involved providing assistance and guidance, backed by the ability to enforce the rules, have quit in record numbers as their job changed to simply 'punishing people'.

Author: Oliver Redding
Seattle Newsdesk  / Breaking Crypto News

Kim Kardashian Reaches $1.26 Million Settlement with SEC...


It looks like Kim's lawyers delivered a pretty good deal for the reality TV star - she's worth $1.8 billion, and has reached an agreement to settle the matter for $1.26 million.

She also does not have to admit any wrongdoing.


Her 'endorsement' was pretty cringeworthy, but I'm probably not in her target demographic. The post said: "ARE YOU INTO CRYPTO??? THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE BUT SHARING WHAT MY FRIENDS JUST TOLD ME ABOUT THE ETHEREUM MAX TOKEN.”

While the settled-on amount is too low to impact a billionaire, the SEC's newest statement on the matter was surprisingly positive, saying in part; "She wanted to get this matter behind her to avoid a protracted dispute. The agreement she reached with the SEC allows her to do that so that she can move forward with her many different business pursuits".

“This case is a reminder that, when celebrities or influencers endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, it doesn’t mean that those investment products are right for all investors” Said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.


There's been some emphasis by the SEC on Kim assisting them 'on "other cases'" - but this is the only time she has ever promoted a cryptocurrency.

Explained in the SEC's own words "(Kim) cooperated with the SEC from the very beginning and she remains willing to do whatever she can to assist the SEC in this matter." - this seems to clash with previous statements of this being a deal to allow her to "put this all behind her".

The most likely scenario is Kim sharing information on other projects that approached her, allowing the SEC to take note of which projects intended to spend a sizeable budget on celebrity endorsements.  Once they have this, they can begin to see what those companies ended up doing, and if any celebs that were eventually hired properly disclosed their status as paid endorsers. 

Author: Oliver Redding
Seattle Newsdesk  / Breaking Crypto News


A More 'Crypto Friendly' SEC? PLUS: Exclusive Details on Industry and Politicians Private Washington DC Talks..

 US SEC Offices and Sign Logo

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States appears to be moving towards a more 'crypto friendly' approach when it comes to regulations. 

Since the first in 2013, SEC actions against cryptocurrency companies and startups had been on the rise. But according to recent statistics from economic research firm Cornerstone Research, 2021 marked the first year these actions decreased. 

The obvious question is - why? Perhaps simply Covid and a generally backed-up legal system, meaning while prosecutions may have been delayed, they had not deceased.

Others say the difference is Gary Gensler, who was appointed director in 2021 and his experience prior to joining the SEC - as a professor of bitcoin and blockchain at MIT...

Lawmakers and politicians with misconceptions about cryptocurrency, and often a general ignorance of technology in general remain the biggest threat.  But with the appointment of Gensler many of crypto's supporters are feeling a bit less worried, as it at least appears the SEC is now led by someone with a full understanding of what they're tasked with regulating. 

Since 2013, the SEC has taken action in 123 cases that focused on cryptocurrency...

From otherwise legitimate projects that lacked the proper licenses to operate, to full blown Ponzi-scheme style scams.

Since their first crypto based case in 2013 - the amount of actions taken by the SEC each year has only grown, with the amount of cases peaking in 2020 with a total of 35.  Last year, 2021, was the first decline in total cases with a total of 24.

Pressure on US Regulators and lawmakers continues to grow, as the industry increases political influence...

Particularly over the past 3 years the crypto industry has put a major focus on making sure their voices are heard by those who will eventually decide how their businesses will need to operate.

Getting to a position where they can be heard involves playing the game - political donations, charities, resources, speaking engagements. Cryptocurrency company founders and executives are being spotted in every corner of Washington DC these days. 

Inside the crypto industry, as they go inside Washington DC...

The US crypto industry has accepted that new regulations are eventually coming - so the sooner they know what they will be, the better. Over the years we've heard multiple large investors and investment firms say regulatory uncertainty is their main reason for still sitting on the sidelines. 

While acknowledging the urgency for clarity, they cannot push so hard that politicians feel pressure to just 'do something' - sacrificing the time needed to draft reasonable, productive, and positive guidelines.

"The end goal everyone wants is a stronger, more stable industry, with better protected and informed investors and traders - and we're positive this can be achieved" says a contact from one of the major US crypto companies involved in lobbying Washington DC, who asked to remain unnamed, and that we note they are speaking as an individual and not a spokesperson for any organization. 

But they also believe that completing their current goal must come before anything goes up for a vote, which my contact describes as 'educating lawmakers, because if there was a vote today I think about 10% of them would understand the impact of what they're voting on". 

Which isn't as simple as addressing Congress and the Senate with a '1 size fits all' speech, my contact explains "There's a huge range of experience among lawmakers when it comes to finance and tech. That's why it's about asking for just a few minutes to speak to them 1 on 1 - and then we don't just lecture them on crypto but also make them feel comfortable to ask questions and raise concerns". 

So, while the industry wants a resolution soon, a plan that aims for informed people making smart decisions comes with a speed limit. 

Author: Justin Derbek
New York News Desk
Global Crypto Press Association / Breaking Crypto News

US SEC Begins 5 Year Contract To Monitor DeFi Activity with AI and Machine Learning...

SEC monitoring DeFi

The SEC has hired a company out of California named 'AnChain AI' and begun a 5 year contract reportedly costing $625,000 - with the goal of  implementing greater oversight over the world of decentralized finance platforms (aka DeFi).

Company CEO and co-founder Victor Fang says they "will provide the technology to analyze and track smart contracts". AnChain AI says their software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, and includes a tool that flags potentially suspicious transactions and wallets.

Fang says the big picture is to stop “post-incident investigations” by preventing the incidents to begin with, which he describes as “defense all the way up the upstream”.

They list Microsoft and crypto exchange Huobi as clients.

The SEC Has Not Yet Commented On The Deal, But Recent Quotes From It's Director Give Us Some Insight...

Since April of this year Gary Gensler has been the director of the SEC, and he isn't new to Bitcoin - he taught a class on it at MIT.  So many give him the benefit of the doubt when he says the organization's goal is always to protect investors.

With so many politicians clearly uneducated on crypto, supporters hope that his knowledge about Bitcoin will translate into common sense regulation actions.

Gensler recently spoke to the Wall Street Journal, where he stated that DeFi projects are not immune to regulation, and aren't as decentralized as many believe -  often having some centralized elements.

Likewise, even if the app itself is decentralized, if a small group of developers make all the decisions for it, that's a form of centralization as well. 


Author: Mark Pippen
London News Desk / Breaking Crypto News

SEC Chairman Gives Positive Outlook On Crypto to Senate Banking Committee... But Should We Trust Him?

Video via CSPAN

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton sounded generally positive when it comes to the future of cryptocurrency "I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street investors”.

He also repeated his stance that he believes a balance between regulation and innovation must be found, saying: "Overall, I believe we have taken a measured, yet proactive regulatory approach that both fosters innovation and capital formation while protecting our investors and our markets."

But if we know anything about government officials (of any nation), talk is cheap, and the SEC has taken surprising actions in some cases. For example, companies like Kik for launching an ICO, accusing them of foul play for raising and losing less investor money than companies like Uber, who have their blessing.

It's a magical world where a blockchain company losing $3 million must be a 'scam' - but a company listed on the stock market can lose $25 million and it's just 'a rough year'.

Earlier this year we published an article that made its way around Washington DC, in it our chief editor exposed how even some people within the SEC think they shouldn't have oversight over cryptocurrency.  Laws around 'securities' simply don't fit what cryptocurrencies are.

A "win" here isn't the head of the SEC saying something pro-crypto, it's the SEC being removed from the picture entirely.

Then an agency like the CFTC could be given oversight, scams and lying to investors remains illegal, and cryptocurrencies become legally classified the same as gold or silver (a commodity).

A concept being talked about behind closed doors with policy makers more than many are aware of, according to our sources within industry lobbying groups.

Author: Justin Derbek
New York News Desk

SEC Chair Says Crypto Industry Has "Made Progress" Addressing Issues Needed for Bitcoin ETF Approval...

Sec Chair Jay Cayton previously shared the concerns that were holding him back from approving a Bitcoin ETF. 

They including custody, and price manipulation - specifically the potential for foreign exchanges with little oversight being able to manipulate price.

Asked if the industry has made any progress addressing these concerns, he says - yes!

Blockchain in Chains: It's Time To Strip The SEC Of Authority Over Cryptocurrency - and Some SEC Officials Agree!

SEC and cryptocurrency

Before you think this is an extreme view - you should know that members of the US Congress from both political parties, and even some of the SEC's own leadership agree - the SEC, and the regulations for trading securities are both the wrong agency, and wrong laws, to oversee the emerging cryptocurrency space.

Let's look at how we got to where we are now, what's going wrong, and the path we can take to correct it.

The big boom, and the SEC's entry into crypto...

Back in 2017, there was a lot of money flying around, we had a flood of new people rush the market, each wanting their piece of the pie.  Unfortunately, with the masses comes those who target them.

The cryptocurreny world really was the perfect target, people felt they needed to get in quick, and a lot of people had no idea what they were buying.

As the media talked about how rich people who bought Bitcoin years ago are now, scammers were right behind them promising their new coin would be next to follow this path.  The lies went viral, I remember seeing conversations between people online, where literally not 1 person involved knew what they were talking about - it was the blind leading the blind on social networking, and many of the scams were spread from victim to victim because of this.

Then as these various scams began collapsing, the SEC appeared.  Issuing cease and deists, and in some cases pressing charges against company founders.

Things had gotten so bad, even people typically against government involvement could be found cheering on some of the SEC actions.  It's hard to feel bothered by one of these companies being taken down, and at the time the SEC seemed like the lesser of two evils.

But things have changed...

Since then, the crypto world didn't just 'wise up' to scammers - we've become downright paranoid.

Today practically every startup in crypto is considered a scam until they prove otherwise, guilty until proven innocent. This doesn't really bother me, legitimate projects will have no problem proving themselves.

But one thing I know for sure - the scams of 2017 would never get off the ground today.

So, what is the SEC up to now?

Well, you've likely heard the news this week, they're targeting a well known and established tech company, KIK. They have a messaging app under the same name, and in 2017 they launched their own cryptocurrency called "KIN".

The SEC is suing them for $100 million, the amount the company raised.

While the SEC has laid out the case of a company losing money turning to an ICO to stop the bleeding, which they summarized in court documents with:

Faced with a shrinking financial “runway,” Kik decided to “pivot” to an entirely different business and attempt what a board member called a “hail Mary pass”: Kik would offer and sell one trillion digital tokens in return for cash to fund company operations and a speculative new venture.

Well, that sure sounds shady.  That's why initially, I didn't have negative reaction to this news.

Then it hit me - that's total bullshit.

That happened when I read another headline a couple hours later, saying that since becoming a publicly traded company, UBER has just released their first earnings report - a loss of $1 BILLION!

Investing in companies losing money is actually extremely common, and as far as the actual numbers go - Kik is actually on the low end, with an estimated $3 million per month operating cost. Uber loses that in a few days. So does companies like Tesla, which lost nearly $500 million so far this year - and that's an improvement for them over 2018.

In the case of Kik, it's supporters were seen pushing Kik and implementing it into their app as a way to turn things around.  Another very common, thing for a company to do - seek new investors to fund an improvement, that could turn a company losing money into a profitable one.

So what did Kik really do? Sold an "unlicensed security" - and people over estimate how easy it is to earn that label.

If someone from the company leadership implies that their cryptocurrency could go up in value - that's it, you've crossed the line and turned your token into a 'security'.

The SEC is no longer taking down scams for our own good...

What we're really getting is the SEC yelling "leave America, or else" at every company that could be considering implementing tokenized assets.

And they are leaving the country - taking their jobs, and tax dollars with them.

America's loss has been other nation's gain. Governments that have embraced the cryptocurrency and blockchain explosion are reaping massive rewards. 

There's a whole area of Switzerland now being called 'crypto valley' - they found an easy way to give their economy a huge boost - just do what Silicon Valley should have been doing this whole time.

There's hope - if the US Congress would do their job...

Already introduced in Congress by Congressmen Warren Davidson (Republican) and Darren Soto (Democrat) - the Token Taxonomey Act would officially remove the 'security' label from many digital assets.

This does not mean the crypto market becomes the wild west.  Digital assets would be treated as a commodity (like gold or silver) and regulated by the CFTC.

Think of it this way - every scam ICO violated laws beyond being an unregistered security. Lying to investors is fraud, disappearing with their money is fraud and theft - these would still be illegal, and there would still be an agency in charge of preventing this, or punishing those who do it.

Even some of the SEC's own leadership are open to the idea...

In a surprising turn - in a speech from SEC commissioner Hester M. Peirce, he highlighted the Congressman's proposed solution, saying:

"Congress may resolve the ambiguities engendered by Howey by simply requiring that at least some digital assets be treated as a separate asset class. Congressmen Warren Davidson and Darren Soto recently introduced a bill in the House intended to amend the federal securities laws to do just that, provided that the token truly operated in a decentralized network."

So where do things stand? The last update on the bill was following it's official introduction into the Congress, this is typically followed by various committees evaluating it, proposing possible changes/amendments, then it goes up for a vote.

How long this process takes greatly varies, but it's becoming clear that this should be treated as an urgent matter.

What US lawmakers need to understand...
Artificial Intelligence and blockchain own the title of today's 'hottest' emerging technologies, and there's no way to put a number on the long term economic damage caused by one of these fleeing the United States to avoid SEC overreach.

It's years too early to even guess who will be the Apple or Microsoft of blockchain, and release that blockchain powered product that includes implementation of a native token  - but until things change we can be sure it won't be an American based company.

As the reporter who broke the story on the Token Taxonomy Act, I have been informed members of Congress have shared, and even used some of my arguments in it's favor internally.

We will make sure this reaches the offices of those we have contact with already, and with the utmost respect I would like to suggest - research Switzerland's Crypto Valley, and see the results of the government doing things right.

This is the model we should aim to replicate in the United States. 

*Details updated 7/19/19
Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM

San Francisco News Desk

US Crypto Traders - Claim Your $25 BTC...

Shady ICOs beware - US SEC warns that the next wave of action against fraudulent token offerings is coming...

The "fiscal year" as it relates to the institutions that regulate the financial markets technically came to a close on Sept 30th - the idea is anything ongoing at the point is likely to continue into the next year as lawmakers return home from Washington, and anything beyond that date will be considered part of their 2019 actions.

On that note, the US Securities and Exchange Commission released their annual report covering the 2018 fiscal year, where they touched on the topic of cryptocurrencies several times, first stating:

"In the past year, the Division has opened dozens of investigations involving ICOs and digital assets, many of which were ongoing at the close of FY 2018."

The SEC says they've helped recover over $68 million for 'duped investors' participating in ICOs that purposely mislead the public.

Among those - a story I broke here following an insider leaking documents to the Global Crypto Press regarding Titanium Blockchain, who raised over $12 million before it was discovered their CEO lied about business relationships with everyone from Apple to PayPal.

Also included in their biggest busts was TokenLot, which stands accused of operating as an unregistered broker/dealer.

Adding some relief for legitimate investors, they made a point they've made before - that only those committing fraud have reason to fear SEC intervention, saying:

“The Enforcement Division recognizes the need to balance its mission to protect investors from the risk posed by fraud and registration violations against the risk of stifling innovation and legitimate capital formation”

Which is a case often made in response to those saying the cryptocurrency markets need more regulation and oversight - that so far existing laws have been sufficient and it's been impossible for someone to operate a scam in the cryptocurrency world that didn't violate existing laws as well - meaning new regulations aren't only unnecessary, but also come with the risk of slowing innovation and growth.

The full report is available on the SEC's official site here.
Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM
San Francisco News Desk

Securities and Exchange Commission launches new division that will help ICOs and other financial tech companies navigate regulatory framework...

They're calling it the "Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology" or "FinHub" for short.

It's purpose is to both interact with the public and hear their concerns over emerging technology in the financial sector, and to guide the companies launching new projects in this sector - specifically mentioning blockchain and digital assets among the issues they're ready to address.

"The FinHub provides a central point of focus for our efforts to monitor and engage on innovations in the securities markets that hold promise, but which also require a flexible, prompt regulatory response to execute our mission." says SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

The SEC's FinHub will be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation and Associate Director in the SEC's Division of Corporation Finance "By launching FinHub, we hope to provide a clear path for entrepreneurs, developers, and their advisers to engage with SEC staff, seek input, and test ideas." she added.

Launched today with the announcement is a new form on the SEC website, where FinTech based companies, including ICOs can request to speak directly with the SEC for guidance with compliance issues.

Here's why this is a big deal - currently in the cryptocurrency markets we've been doing things in reverse - an ICO will launch, and then hope they never hear from the SEC and find out they did or said something wrong.

Now, before an ICO even begins they can share their plan with the SEC - and let their investors know they've already received a thumbs up from regulators.
Author: Justin Derbek
New York News Desk

Senior regulator with the US SEC states Ethereum not a security - markets respond with $17 billion market cap boost!

While not an official ruling, this does provide an insight into the conversations regarding cryptocurrency going on behind closed doors of the US government.

Speaking at the All Markets Summit in San Francisco, an event presented by Yahoo, US Securities and Exchange Commission director of corporate finance William Hinman stated:

"Based on my understanding of the present state of ether, the ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of ether are not securities transactions."

An important factor to consider - this quote was part of written prepared comments from Mr. Hinman - not an off the cuff remark or response to a question.  The fact this comment was prepared in advance leads me to believe we are likely hearing the same conclusions the SEC has come to internally.

Now here's the biggest part of this - the reason for Ethereum not meeting the standard of security is 'its decentralized structure' - meaning if this is how the SEC will make this determination, many other cryptocurrencies are also now in the clear.

But, he did elaborate with a warning for ICO's, saying:

"Even digital assets with utility that function solely as a means of exchange in a decentralized network could be packaged and sold as an investment strategy that can be a security."
So the rules seem pretty straightforward - talk about all the great things a coin can do, but do not tell people to buy it because it's going to go up in value - do not sell a coin as a for-profit investment.

Markets have responded today with green candles everywhere, and a market cap rise of $17 billion at the time of publishing.
Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM
San Francisco News Desk

Titanium under investigation from the SEC - assets frozen as agents visit US office...

Titanium Blockchain, which trades under 'TBAR' has been visited by the SEC in their US offices - seizing computers, cell phones - and freezing all company assets, virtually placing the company under SEC control until the investigation is over.

GCP has obtained the SEC documents to review the case - which reads...

"by evidence establishing a prima facie case and reasonable likelihood that defendants Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services, Inc. (“TBIS”), EHI Internetwork and Systems Management, Inc. aka EHIINSM, Inc. (“EHI”), and Michael Stollery, aka Michael Stoller, aka Michael Stollaire (“Stollaire”) (collectively, “Defendants”) have engaged in, are engaging in, are about to engage in, and unless restrained and enjoined will continue to engage in transactions, acts, practices, and courses of business that constitute violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77q(a), and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5"

We attempted to reach Titanium staff via their official Telegram channel, but was told "We cannot comment on that" by an admin.

It would appear this is part of 'Operation Crypto Sweep' - a joint investigation between US and Canadian officials that is underway now - looking in to hundreds of recent ICOs. Our sources say up to 70 may be served with similar restraining orders for further investigation.

*UPDATE* - There are new developments to this story here.

Author: Ross Davis
E-Mail: Twitter:@RossFM
San Francisco News Desk

DJ Khaled may have just played himself - the ICO he and Floyd Mayweather endorsed is under criminal investigation...

Centra claimed they had developed a debit card that would allow users to link their cryptocurrency wallets to it, then spend their Bitcoin or Ethereum anywhere Visa and MasterCard is accepted.  Even going so far to claim they had a partnership in place with the credit card companies to make this happen.  The ICO went on to raise $32 million.

But the US Government says - that partnership never existed, and is now the SEC is pursuing Centra for fraud.

“They claimed, for example, to offer a debit card backed by Visa and Mastercard that would allow users to instantly covert hard-to-spend cryptocurrencies into US dollars or legal tender. In reality,  Centra had no relationships with Visa or MasterCard.” reads the SEC complaint which can be read in full here

However, Centra did have two other real partnerships - with celebrity endorsers DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather.

Also cited in the SEC complaint "As we allege, the defendants relied heavily on celebrity endorsements and social media to market their scheme".

So far however Khaled and Mayweather haven't been charged with any crimes.  But that doesn't mean they're in the clear yet - they may have violated securities law by promoting the ICO without disclosing the amount of their compensation. 

At this point the SEC investigation is focused on the company founders - but the case still could expand to include Khaled and Mayweather.

*Update* - Centra's token has also now been delisted by Binance.
Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk

US SEC is hunting down pump & dump groups - preparing for legal action, and offering rewards to whistleblowers!

A couple weeks ago I covered the SEC's first face to face with US Congress members (link) - the results had the cryptocurrency world overjoyed - they were surprisingly supportive of it - but made one thing clear: scammers beware.

One of those scams is an old one, the "pump and dump" - where a group of people get together, and pump funds into a stock, or cryptocurrency - sending the price up, that's the "pump". The hope is innocent investors see this rise and want to get on board too - that's when they "dump" - taking their profits, sending the price back down and leaving the later-comers holding massive losses.

Today the SEC announced - they're on the hunt for these groups. Stating in a consumer advisory notice:

"Blow the whistle on pump-and-dump schemers. Virtual currency and digital token pump and-dump schemes continue because they are mostly anonymous.

If you have original information that leads to a successful enforcement action that leads to monetary sanctions of $1 million or more, you could be eligible for a monetary award of between 10 percent and 30 percent.

For more information, or to submit a tip, visit the CFTC’s website."

Some of these groups are surprisingly easy to find, and bold enough to literally put the words "pump and dump" in their name. They can be found virtually on every social network or mobile chat app like Telegram or Slack.

We assume the SEC has already found those, but others have been a bit more cautious, some even charging a monthly fee to be a member or require going through some kind of approval process.

That's where putting together a group of greedy, shady investors will backfire - with the SEC offering a hefty reward for information, let the backstabbing begin!

Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk

Breaking: US SEC meets congress and gives anti-fraud, but pro-cryptocurrency stance...

The meeting that just took place today has been worrying the markets for the last week - but at least for now it appears to have been for nothing.  The hearing was a surprisingly positive view of the innovation and technology, with concerns of fraudsters taking advantage of the excitement - which frankly, is a valid concern to have.

"We must crack down hard on those who try to abuse enthusiasm with fraud and manipulation" Chris Giancarlo, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said.

But careful not to come off as a crack down on the cryptocurrency market in general, the Trump appointed Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton added “These warnings are not an effort to undermine the fostering of innovation through our capital markets – America was built on the ingenuity, vision and spirit of entrepreneurs who tackled old and new problems in new, innovative ways” .

Another surprisingly positive quote comes from Senator Mark Warner (D) - an early investor in the cell phone technology, said he sees a similarities between mobile phones then, and cryptocurrencies today. "The same kind of transformation is about to take place." Warner expressed he believes the possibility that cryptcurrencies will hit $20 trillion in value, saying "this rises potentially to the level of a systemically relevant event."

There was one set of challenges discussed - how to classify a cryptocurrency.  A currency? A security? Something else entirely?

"What's so challenging about bitcoin is that it has characteristics of multiple different things" Giancarlo said.

Chairman Clayton said currently, they are not asking for any new laws - but in the future "We may be back with our friends from Treasury and the Fed to ask for additional legislation."

Markets appear to be in rebound following the news, with Bitcoin dipping into the $5900's briefly earlier - already at $7623 at time of publishing this article.
Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk

SEC suspends "The Crypto Company" from trading....

The Crypto Company has been forced to suspend trading of it's stock by the The Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Crypto Company describes itself as having a "diversified portfolio of digital assets" with plans to "rollout of a full scale, high frequency cryptocurrency trading floor."

But movement in it's stock and proposed splits caught the eye of regulators.  Following a 160% rise over the last week - giving them an $11 Billion value at $575 a share.

This caused the CEO to announce a plan for a 10 to 1 split of the stock, in order to lower the entry price for a round of new investors - making the stock $57.50 per share. CEO Mike Poutre said it's "the responsible thing to do" and cited companies like Apple, and Mastercard, which also split shares to make their stock accessible to everyday investors.

The SEC has now halted trading citing "concerns regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information" - the suspension will expire January 3rd, where it can either be extended or fully lifted depending on the outcome of the SEC's investigation.

And an odd bit of information - the company went public in June of this year by acquiring the already public company "Croe"... which makes fitness bra's for women.

Author: Oliver Redding
Seattle News Desk