The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said Wednesday it has settled charges against U.K.-based Blotics, the operator of Coinschedule.com, for violating the anti-touting provisions of federal securities law.
The SEC alleges Coinschedule, a once-popular website that profiled initial coin offerings (ICOs) from 2016 to 2019, was secretly receiving compensation from the issuers of the digital assets it was profiling.
The settled charges against Coinschedule are among a series of charges recently brought by the SEC against operators of ICOs the regulator has deemed fraudulent or otherwise in violation of federal securities law. The SEC has taken an increasingly strong stance against unregistered token offerings since the ICO boom of 2017, deeming them unregistered securities.
Blotics agreed to a settlement that includes a $43,000 disgorgement plus prejudgement interest, a penalty of $153,434 and an agreement to stop violating the anti-touting provisions.
Two SEC commissioners, Elad Roisman and Hester Peirce, issued a statement that they agreed Coinschedule was violating federal law, but they lamented the settlement did not offer any regulatory clarity for other market participants.
“We agree with our colleagues that touting securities without disclosing the fact that you are getting paid, and how much, violates Section 17(b),” Peirce and Roisman wrote. “We nevertheless are disappointed that the commission’s settlement with Coinschedule did not explain which digital assets touted by Coinschedule were securities, an omission of which is symptomatic of our reluctance to provide additional guidance about how to determine whether a token is being sold as part of a securities offering or which tokens are securities.”
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.