US SEC Charges ICO Listing Website for Unlawfully Promoting Securities

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced on Wednesday that it has settled charges against Blotics Ltd, the operator behind Coinschedule.com, a website that listed offerings of digital asset securities known as initial coin offerings (ICOs). According to the press release, the commission found that the firm violated federal securities laws by failing to disclose the compensation that it received from the ICOs issuers it listed on the website.

The company is based in the United Kingdom, and the SEC’s order states that such a website was accessible from the United States from 2016 to 2019, which represented a high portion of the traffic it received. “Visitors to Coinschedule.com were presented with details about each profiled digital token offering in so-called ‘listing’ profiles, which also included links to the token issuers’ own websites and a “trust score” that Coinschedule claimed reflected its evaluation of the ‘credibility’ and ‘operational risk’ for each digital token offering based on a ‘proprietary algorithm.’ In reality, the token issuers paid Coinschedule to profile their token offerings on Coinschedule.com, a fact that Coinschedule failed to disclose to visitors,” the SEC alleged.

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Some of the ICOs Listed Already Appeared in the DAO Report

In fact, the SEC says that many of the ICOs listed by the website appears in the DAO Report published in 2017, which warned that “coins sold in ICOs may be securities and that those who offer and sell securities in the U.S. must comply with federal securities laws.” Blotics Ltd agreed to cease and desist from any future violations of the federal securities laws, the commission said, as well as paying $43,000 in disgorgement and a fine of $154,434.

In June, the SEC also settled charges against Loci Inc. and its CEO, John Wise, for allegedly making false and misleading statements connected to fraud and an unregistered securities offering. Loci Inc. is an ICO issuer, which Wise used to raise $7.6 million from investors by offering and selling a digital token dubbed “LOCIcoin.”

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