– The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged crypto influencer Ian Balina, alleging the crypto personality did not file a registration statement with the commission for his offering and sale of Sparkster’s SPRK tokens, and no exemption from registration was applicable.
– He also allegedly failed to disclose the compensation he received while promoting Sparksters SPRK initial coin offering (ICO) on social media, according to the SEC.
– The SEC seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement, civil penalties, and other appropriate and necessary equitable relief. If the charges hold, it would mean Balina would be unable to promote securities again.
– The filing also argues that contributions made in Ethereum (ETH) to participate in the ICO all took place in the United States.
– “[Users’] ETH contributions were validated by a network of nodes on the Ethereum blockchain, which are clustered more densely in the United States than in any other country,” the filing reads. “As a result, those transactions took place in the United States.”
– Balina took to Twitter to announce that he was excited to take this fight public.
– This frivolous SEC charge sets a bad precedent for the entire crypto industry, he added. If investing in a private sale with a discount is a crime, the entire crypto VC space is in trouble.
– He added that he had “turned down settlement” with the Commission.
– The SEC today announced that Sparkster and its CEO Sajjad Daya agreed to settle and pay $35 million to affected Sparkster investors.
– Associate director of SEC’s enforcement division Carolyn M. Welshhans said that the settlement “allows the SEC to return a significant amount of money to investors and requires additional measures to protect investors, including the disabling of tokens to prevent their future sale.”
– Actions against Balina “further protects investors by seeking to hold accountable an alleged crypto asset promoter for failures to follow the federal securities laws,” she added.
– Balina boasted around 143,000 Twitter followers and 110,000 YouTube subscribers at the time of writing, alongside books on Amazon and Audible, and mainstream media appearances in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and Forbes.
– The Uganda-born entrepreneur left his sales role at IBM to promote crypto full time in 2017, with content such as How to Make Millions with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) racking up hundreds of thousands of views.
– Balina gave the token a 90% Hall of Fame ranking on his ICO investing spreadsheet and promoted it to users of a private Telegram group of around 50 people, according to the SECs filing.
– The Cayman islands-incorporated firm is now defunct, with the last