The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled a fine with a Russian-based firm that was publishing initial coin offerings (ICOs) without showing the fact that it had accepted payment to do so.
ICORating to pay $269k settlement for biased ICO reviews
Late yesterday, according to Reuters, the US SEC announced it has reached a $269,000 settlement with an ICO rating firm named ICORating.com. According to the US SEC, ICO Rating promoted cryptocurrency projects between December 2017 and July 2018, which was the famous boom period for ICOs and cryptocurrency market that should have been classified as securities.
Therefore, ICORating.com should have disclosed the fact that it accepted payment to promote some coins and tokens.
ICO Rating is the trade name for a firm which was formed in September 2016. The rating company is based in the St. Petersburg, Russia metropolitan area, and formerly claimed to have branches in New York, Amsterdam, and Singapore.
Russian firm voids its own mission statement
The company positions itself as a rating agency that issues independent analytical research. And their website says its mission is to help the market to achieve the necessary standards of quality, transparency, and reliability, which they void.
As per this case, it is clear that the firm itself can’t even meet the basic standards of transparency.
Melissa Hodgman, a director in the SEC’s enforcement division quoted that: “The securities laws require promoters, including both people and entities, to disclose compensation they receive for touting investments so that potential investors are aware they are viewing a paid promotional item.”
ICO Rating has neither admitted nor denied the claims by US SEC. However, it has agreed with termination and cease from committing any future violations of the same nature. It also agreed to repay its profits and prejudgment interest totaling $106,998 and a civil penalty of $162,000.
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