The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, with operating an unregistered securities exchange.
The regulator said Thursday that EtherDelta, which acts as a secondary market for trading ERC-20 tokens, had been providing a marketplace for buyers and sellers to trade ethereum tokens that the SEC deemed to be "digital asset securities." It used an order book, an order display website and a smart contract built on ethereum, the agency said.
"EtherDelta's smart contract was coded to validate the order messages, confirm the terms and conditions of orders, execute paired orders, and direct the distributed ledger to be updated to reflect a trade," the SEC said.
EtherDelta users conducted more than 3.6 million trades over an 18-month period "for ERC-20 tokens, including tokens that are securities under the federal securities law," according to the release, which went on to add:
"Almost all of the orders placed through EtherDelta's platform were traded after the Commission issued its 2017 DAO Report, which concluded that certain digital assets, such as DAO tokens, were securities and that platforms that offered trading of these digital asset securities would be subject to the SEC's requirement that exchanges register or operate pursuant to an exemption."
The platform did not register as an exchange or file for an exemption, the SEC said.
SEC Division of Enforcement co-director Stephanie Avakian said in a statement that "EtherDelta had both the user interface and underlying functionality of an online national securities exchange and was required to register with the SEC or qualify for an exemption."
Coburn has already settled the charges, according to the release. Though he did not admit to or deny the charges, he paid $300,000 in disgorgement, $13,000 in pre-judgement interest and a $75,000 penalty.
The SEC noted that Coburn cooperated with the regulator, resulting in a lower penalty than may have otherwise been administered.
Source: https://www.coindesk.com/sec-charges-et ... -exchange/
Nov 12 (Reuters) - Switzerland-based financial technology firm X8 AG has obtained certification from Islamic scholars for its digital currency, with plans to expand its business in the Middle East, a senior executive said on Monday.
Several fintech firms are integrating their technology into the field of Sharia-compliant finance, with regulators and financial exchanges in the Middle East region keen to attract new business and encourage innovation in the sector.
This has prompted Islamic scholars to assess the religious validity of digital currencies, some wary of price volatility and the types of assets behind digital tokens.
The company hopes its Ethereum-based cryptocurrency, which is fully backed by a basket of eight fiat currencies and gold, can address such concerns, said X8 director and co-founder Francesca Greco.
“The Gulf region is a really good place for financial technology companies, because they all want to become hubs for fintech,” said Greco, adding the company would open a regional office in the Middle East later this month.
Regulators in the Gulf region have built a welcoming environment for fintech but they are also being cautious about cryptocurrencies, giving an opportunity for so-called “stablecoins” which are designed to reduce price volatility, Greco said.
The company also plans to launch a crypto-exchange that would include a Sharia-compliant component, and it has held discussions with local exchanges in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Bahrain, Greco added.
The firm received certification for its cryptocurrency and related tokens from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), an Islamic advisory firm licensed by Bahrain’s central bank.
Cryptocurrencies have drawn a variety of rulings from scholars over the past few years, with differing views on how they fit into religious principles that emphasize real economic activity and forbid outright monetary speculation.
The debate among Islamic scholars has been narrowing, however, as some have compared the trading of cryptocurrencies to the transfer of rights, which is deemed permissible in Islam. (Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
Srouce: https://af.reuters.com/article/commodit ... FL8N1XN0BG
The FBI has arrested the CEO of cryptocurrency platform AriseBank after he was indicted over an alleged multi-million dollar scam.
The news was announced Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Texas, which states that 30-year-old Jared Rice Sr. tricked hundreds of investors out of over $4 million and has now been charged with three counts of securities fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
Rice allegedly lied to prospective investors, claiming that the firm, which he called the “first decentralized banking platform,” would offer FDIC-insured bank accounts and Visa-linked debit and credit cards, in addition to crypto services based on its own AriseCoin token.
However, in reality, AriseBank wasn’t authorized to conduct banking services in Texas, was not FDIC insured, and had no partnership with Visa, the Justice Department states.
Rice is also accused of lying about raising “$600 million within just a few weeks” through an initial coin offering (ICO). Moreover, he spent investors’ money for his own personal use on hotels, food and clothing and more.
After the firm’s formation, he began promoting AriseBank and AriseCoin around June 2017 through press releases, public video interviews, social media outlets and his own websites, according to a court document unsealed Wednesday.
If convicted, Rice faces up to 120 years in federal prison, the Attorney’s Office said.
Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said:
“My office is committed to enforcing the rule of law in the cryptocurrency space. The Northern District of Texas will not tolerate this sort of flagrant deception – online or off.”
In January, Rice was also sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), together with his co-founder Stanley Ford, for alleged fraud and issuing unregistered securities during an ICO. The Texas Department of Banking issued AriseBank a cease-and-desist order in the same month.
An SEC complaint from February further states that Rice is on probation as a part of a plea deal stemming from a Collin County, Texas, indictment in 2015 for theft and tampering with government records. He is also under felony indictment in Dallas County, Texas, for assault, after which he allegedly destroyed evidence by stealing the victim’s phone and deleting an audio recording of the incident.
Source: https://www.coindesk.com/fbi-arrests-ar ... ypto-fraud