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SEC fines ICO rating website for taking money from issuers in exchange for better reviews

On July 14, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled settled charges against UK-based Coinschedule. 

Accessible in the U.S. from 2016 to August 2019, Coinschedule was a platform that reviewed upcoming initial coin offerings, providing seemingly objective perspective as to which ICOs were more or less scammy. 

Per the SEC’s order: “The platform claimed to ‘list’ or profile the ‘best’ token offerings, such as so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) and initial exchange offerings (IEOs), and stated that its ‘mission is to make it easy and safe for people around the world to join ICOs.'”

Meanwhile, Coinschedule was taking payment from issuers in exchange for more favorable reviews. Failure to disclose such payments violate the anti-touting provisions of the Securities Act’s Section 17(b).

The terms of the settlement are, however, quite merciful. Coinschedule’s operator goes unnamed in the SEC’s charges and will have to pay disgorgement and fines totaling roughly $200,000. Moreover, Coinschedule was able to without admitting to or denying the SEC’s charges. 

The SEC has spent years cleaning up after securities issues resulting from the ICO boom. Famous figures including Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled and Steven Seagal found themselves in legal hot water over the same anti-touting provision.

   

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