SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to Cryptocurrency

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to Cryptocurrency

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended trading in the stocks of three companies with ties to cryptocurrency. One of the three is also planning an initial coin offering. The SEC says it is concerned about the nature of the companies’ business operations and the value of their assets.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Stocks

The SEC has “suspended trading in three companies amid questions surrounding similar statements they made about the acquisition of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related assets,” the agency announced on Thursday. They are Cherubim Interests, PDX Partners, and Victura Construction Group. The three stocks are traded over-the-counter, with a market capitalization of less than $5 million each, according to Factset. The suspension is temporary, beginning on February 16 and ending on March 2.

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to CryptocurrencyThe agency stated that the three companies issued press releases claiming that they have “acquired AAA-rated assets from a subsidiary of a private equity investor in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, among other things.” However, the SEC says there are questions regarding the nature of the companies’ business operations and the value of their assets.

In addition, Cherubim Interests also announced that it will launch an initial coin offering (ICO). The trading suspension of this company’s shares is also due to its delinquency in filing annual and quarterly reports with the Commission.

Acquisitions and ICO

The three companies’ press releases list the same chief executive officer, Patrick J. Johnson, “who played for the Oregon Ducks and the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL,” wrote the Oregonian.

SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to CryptocurrencyJohnson told the publication that PDX Partners makes iPhone apps, adding that last month the company “acquired $350 million in assets belonging to a private equity firm called NVC Fund Holding Trust, whose portfolio includes ‘cryptocurrency and business financial services’.”

Cherubim Interests and Victura Construction Group have also made similar acquisitions. Furthermore, the former announced on January 3 that it has “executed a financing commitment of $100,000,000 to launch [an] initial coin offering for The Self Sustaining Intentional Communities Coin (Symbol SJT),” adding that “The sale of the coins will generate the capital to create self-sustaining intentional communities across the US and across 57 nations.”

Regulators’ Warnings

In August of last year, the SEC issued an Investor Alert about public companies making ICO-related claims. “The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is warning investors about potential scams involving stock of companies claiming to be related to, or asserting they are engaging in, Initial Coin Offerings (or ICOs),” the agency wrote, adding that “Fraudsters often try to use the lure of new and emerging technologies to convince potential victims to invest their money in scams.”

The SEC’s action against the three companies come at the same time another US regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), issued a warning about dump-and-pump schemes involving “thinly traded or new ‘alternative’ virtual currencies, digital coins or tokens.”

What do you think of the SEC’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and SEC.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin News.

US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy Crypto

US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy Crypto

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued its first warning against pump-and-dump schemes involving cryptocurrencies while giving advice on how to buy crypto. This warning follows previous warnings by two other U.S. regulators.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

CFTC’s Warning

US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy CryptoThe CFTC issued a Customer Protection Advisory on Thursday to warn the public to “beware of and avoid pump-and-dump schemes that can occur in thinly traded or new ‘alternative’ virtual currencies, digital coins or tokens.”

CFTC Director of Public Affairs Erica Elliott Richardson explained, “As with many online frauds, this type of scam is not new – it simply deploys an emerging technology to capitalize on public interest in digital assets,” adding that:

Pump-and-dump schemes long pre-date the invention of virtual currencies…The CFTC encourages all customers to thoroughly research potential investments, stay informed about tactics commonly used in investment fraud, and avoid investment opportunities they don’t fully understand.

Common Pump-and-Dump Tactics

The agency explained that “the organizers of the scheme will commonly spread rumors and urge immediate buying,” often through social media, noting that:

Some pump and dumps use false news reports, typically about a famous high-tech business leader or investor who plans to pour millions of dollars into a small, lesser known virtual currency or coin. Other fake news stories have featured major retailers, banks, or credit card companies, announcing plans to partner with one virtual currency or another.

After a certain length of time following the pump, the Commission states, the dump will begin. “The price falls and victims are left with currency or tokens that are worth much less than what they expected. From beginning to end, these scams can be over in just a few minutes,” the agency describes and immediately advises: “Customers should avoid purchasing virtual currency or tokens based on tips shared over social media.”

What Crypto Buyers Should Do

US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy CryptoCiting that its job is to maintain “general anti-fraud and manipulation enforcement authority over virtual currency cash markets as a commodity in interstate commerce,” the CFTC revealed that it has received complaints from customers who have lost money to pump-and-dump schemes. Emphasizing that ultimately, “Customers should not purchase virtual currencies, digital coins, or tokens based on social media tips or sudden price spikes,” the Commission stated:

Customers can best protect themselves by purchasing only alternative virtual currencies, digital coins, or tokens that have been thoroughly researched – to separate hype from facts.

Last month, the CFTC took action against three cryptocurrency operators and their founders for commodity fraud and misappropriation.

CFTC Joins SEC and Finra in Warnings

US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy CryptoThe U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has repeatedly warned against pump-and-dump schemes as well as market manipulations involving any financial instruments that can be classified as securities. In August, the agency issued a statement alerting investors of pump-and-dump schemes involving initial coin offerings (ICOs).

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton made a statement in December cautioning investors against “promoting or touting the offer and sale of coins without first determining whether the US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy Cryptosecurities laws apply to those actions,” specifically those related to cryptocurrencies and ICOs. “Selling securities generally requires a license, and experience shows that excessive touting in thinly traded and volatile markets can be an indicator of ‘scalping,’ ‘pump and dump’ and other manipulations and frauds,” he described. The chairman then reiterated the same message last week.

In December, the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) also issued a statement warning investors not to fall for crypto-related stock scams including pump-and-dump frauds, advising them to:

Do your research before purchasing shares of any company offering investment opportunities in cryptocurrency…Don’t be fooled by unrealistic predictions of returns and claims made through press releases, spam email, telemarketing calls or posted online or in social media threads. These actions may be signs of a classic ‘pump and dump’ fraud.

What do you think of the CFTC’s guidance? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, CFTC, SEC, and Finra.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy Crypto appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Korean Government Answers Petition Against Unfair Cryptocurrency Regulations

Korean Government Answers Petition Against Unfair Cryptocurrency Regulations

The South Korean government has officially responded to the popular petition, with over 20,000 signers, against unfair cryptocurrency regulations. The regulators defended their crypto measures and outlined additional regulatory plans.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Popular Petition Answered

South Korea has answered the petition entitled “Has the government ever dreamed a happy dream for the people?” Filed on December 28, the one-month petition asks the government to avoid excessive regulations for cryptocurrencies in the country and “not make unfair regulations on virtual currency investment.”

According to the rules set by the Blue House, the government will respond to any petition with over 200,000 signatures within a month. On January 16, the above petition surpassed that threshold, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. By January 27, a total of 228,295 people had signed and the government subsequently responded to it on Wednesday.

Korean Government Answers Petition Against Unfair Cryptocurrency Regulations
“Has the government ever dreamed a happy dream for the people?” petition which ended on January 27.

Hong Nam-ki, Minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination (OPC) said in his response:

It is the basic policy of the government to prevent illegal acts and uncertainties in the process of virtual currency transactions, and actively nurture blockchain technology…Transparency of virtual currency transactions within the framework of the current law is a top priority…We have been attentive and careful, keeping an open eye on market conditions, international trends, and all means”

Government Still Divided on Regulations

Korean Government Answers Petition Against Unfair Cryptocurrency Regulations
Hong Nam-ki.

The Korean government started announcing regulatory measures for cryptocurrencies in the middle of December. Since then, the regulators have considered a wide range of measures to curb speculation of the crypto market. They implemented the real-name system on January 30, ending anonymous crypto trading via virtual accounts.

The most extreme measures have been proposed by the Korean Ministry of Justice, including an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading and closing down crypto exchanges. However, other financial regulators in the country did not support these proposals. Last week, the Korean prime minister stated that closing down crypto exchanges is not a serious consideration.

Hong was quoted by Reuters on Wednesday:

The government is still divided with many opinions ranging from an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading to bringing the institutions that handle the currency into the system.

In addition, he explained that the regulators will “develop ways to tax virtual currencies, led by the finance ministry, and should announce measures within the first half of the year to develop the blockchain industry.”

What do you think of the South Korean Government’s response to the petition? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Korean government.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Korean Government Answers Petition Against Unfair Cryptocurrency Regulations appeared first on Bitcoin News.