The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its halting an ongoing pre-Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and planned global ICO campaign previously scheduled for December 2018 of Blockvest LLC, “The First Licensed and Regulated Tokenized Crypto Currency Exchange & Index Fund based in the US.”
As it was published in the project’s blog on the 24th of June, 2018, company’s decentralized exchange got SEC’s A+ approval which opened their securities offering to unaccredited Investors all over the globe. Before that the start-up ran the sale privately, only available to a select number of accredited and institutional investors, selling BLV, ERC20 security token, that’s “representative of the top performing cryptocurrency index.” According to the project’s timeline, the private sale lasted from the 1st till the 30th of April offering 50% discount for early investors.
The main reason for halting the sale from SEC’s side were Blockvest’s false declarations that its ICO and its affiliates received regulatory approval from various agencies, including the SEC. According to the SEC’s complaint, the team (including very well known in the industry David Drake mention on the website as a Chief Strategy Officer) was using SEC seal without authorization, a violation of federal law, and falsely declaring their crypto fund was “licensed and regulated.” The complaint also alleges company’s CEO promoted the ICO with a fake agency he created called the “Blockchain Exchange Commission,” using a graphic comparable to the SEC’s seal and the same address as SEC headquarters.
As it was stated in the quote by Robert Cohen, who leads the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, in the SEC’s press-release:
“We allege that this ICO is using both the SEC seal and a made-up crypto regulatory authority to trick investors into believing the ICO was approved by regulators”.
The SEC’s complaint charges Blockvest and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold, III, who also goes by the name Rasool Abdul Rahim El, with violating the antifraud and securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws. The complaint seeks injunctions, the return of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties, and a bar against Ringgold to prohibit him from participating in offering any securities, including digital securities, in the future or making misrepresentations about regulatory approval.
However, it’s deeply troubling that was the only reason to stop the token sale.
Just some of the gaffes to mention: according to the page 10 of the project’s 11-pages whitepaper the “total supply of 100 million Blockvest will be created, with 50 million tokens will be held in a smart contract and will be released in a year for future development & the Global IPO, 32.5 million going to the token sale, 10 million going to the team and advisors, 5 million going to the Core Activities Reserves, 2.5 million to marketing and partnership incentives.”
Not to mention that token’s distribution specified in the whitepaper is different from the one on the project’s landing page.
Another thing, according to the roadmap in August 2018 Blockvest DEX Launches Demo MVP Atomic Swap Platform. But the first and the last activity on the project’s Github was happening half of the year ago. For the last several months its only contributor, Github user risingstar2018 was actively involved in the development of the project called KIZUNACOIN, that is “stronger than blockchain” as states project’s website.
Currently, the special announcement appeared on the landing page of the project, informing that “The BLV Private Token Sale has been halted until further notice. The Blockvest highly anticipated DEX platform will be released as planned in Q4 2018.”
But, at the moment of writing this article, it’s still possible to register the new account, pass KYC procedures and access weirdly looking interface with the opportunity to deposit the funds. Future Times do not recommend you to do so, though ?