In recent regulatory news, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken action against the Titanium Blockchain initial coin offering (ICO) for allegedly making false claims; the enactment of Israel’s cryptocurrency regulations have been delayed; and a Chinese professor has discussed the current legal status of bitcoin trading in China, asserting that it is currently not illegal for Chinese citizen to trade bitcoin.
SEC Ceases Titanium Blockchain ICO for Elaborate False Claims
With North American regulators’ ‘Operation Cryptosweep‘ in high gear, news of regulatory action being taken against suspect initial coin offerings and investment schemes appears to break across the cryptocurrency world daily. The latest target of action from the United States SEC is Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services – which has become subject of a court order halting its ICO due to allegedly making fraudulent claims of business relationships with well-known businesses and the U.S. Federal Reserve.
An SEC press release states that the commission has “obtained a court order halting an ongoing fraud involving an initial coin offering (ICO) that raised as much as $21 million from investors in and outside the U.S.,” adding that the court also approved an emergency asset freeze and the appointment of a receiver for Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services Inc., the firm behind the alleged scheme.
The SEC complaint accuses the company’s president, Michael Alan Stollery, a/k/a Michael Stollaire, of having “lied about business relationships with the Federal Reserve and dozens of well-known firms, including PayPal, Verizon, Boeing, and The Walt Disney Company.”
Robert Cohen, the Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, stated: “This ICO was based on a social media marketing blitz that allegedly deceived investors with purely fictional claims of business prospects. Having filed multiple cases involving allegedly fraudulent ICOs, we again encourage investors to be especially cautious when considering these as investments.”
Israeli Cryptocurrency Regulations Delayed
The enactment of Israel’s cryptocurrency regulations, originally scheduled for this Friday, has been delayed until October.
Following last week’s publishing of a draft law pertaining to money laundering that included specific provisions pertaining to virtual currencies, Israel’s finance minister, Moshe, Kahlon, abruptly requested that the law not be passed until the bill is ratified.
“The existing ordinance for the prohibition of money laundering will lapse with the passing of the new law. The process of installing the new law, which includes public hearings, will take time. Consequently, there will be a period in which there will be no active legal provision concerning this matter, which will lead to a lack of clarity regarding the identification and reporting obligations imposed by the order on [the] prohibition of money laundering,” Mr. Kahlon said.
Manny Rosenfield, the head of the Israeli Bitcoin Association, has described the delay of the law’s passing as a significant setback for the country’s cryptocurrency industry. “The postponement of the law that deals with digital currencies will leave start-ups in the same situation, and will cause a situation in which these companies will have to think twice about whether or not to stay in Israel […] This is a blow that will hamper the efforts of Israel to become a leader in a rapidly developing field of technology,” Mr. Rosenfield said.
“It’s Not Illegal for the Public to Trade BTC” – Chinese Academic
Whilst speaking at The 2018 China International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, Liu Xiaolei, a professor at the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University, argued that bitcoin trading is not currently an illegal activity for Chinese citizens to undertake, despite the China’s prohibition on cryptocurrency exchanges.
According to a rough translation, Liu Xiaolei stated of the legality of China’s citizenry trading bitcoin: “In terms of supervision, the state [has] not [made] such a gesture [so as] to say it is not allowed.” Liu Xiaolei added that “everyone, especially the common people who do not understand this new technology […] should be reminded […] not to follow suit, because it is still a very risky investment.”
Liu Xiaolei also argued that maintaining a ban on P2P cryptocurrencies is not practically viable.