Coinme, Subsidiary and CEO Fined $4M by SEC Over UpToken Offering

The bitcoin kiosk company, its subsidiary Up Global and the CEO of both entities were accused of conducting "unregistered offers and sales of securities."

AccessTimeIconMay 1, 2023 at 9:08 a.m. UTC
Updated May 1, 2023 at 2:32 p.m. UTC

Bitcoin (BTC) kiosk company Coinme has agreed to pay nearly $4 million to settle charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleging it was party to an unregistered security offering, the regulator announced Friday.

Coinme, its subsidiary Up Global SEZC and the CEO of both entities, Neil Bergquist, were all named in the order for allegedly running a crypto fundraiser known as an initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017 for "UpToken." The SEC accused the parties of "making false and misleading statements concerning the demand for UpToken and the amount raised in the offering."

The order is the latest in a string of enforcement actions and heavy fines by the securities regulator that has forced some firms to shutter all or part of their operations.

The SEC alleged Bergquist and Up Global worked to obtain UpToken supply "that would substantially reduce Coinme's need to purchase UpToken" following the ICO, leading to "publicly inflated amounts raised."

To settle the charges, Up Global agreed to pay a $3,520,000 penalty, while Coinme agreed to pay a separate $250,000 penalty and Bergquist agreed to pay $150,000, according to the regulator.

"The SEC order also bars Bergquist, for a period of three years, from acting as an officer or director of a public company," the announcement said.

CoinDesk has reached out to Coinme for comment.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.