The Securities and Exchange Commission ordered blockchain technology company Block.one to pay $24 million to settle charges it conducted an unregistered initial coin offering of digital tokens (ICO) raising the equivalent of several billion dollars over approximately one year.  The company agreed to pay.

According to the SEC’s order, Block.one, which has operations in Virginia and Hong Kong, conducted an ICO between June 2017 and June 2018.  The order finds that Block.one stated it would use the capital raised in the ICO for general expenses, and also to develop software and promote blockchains based on that software.  Block.one’s offer and sale of 900 million tokens began shortly before the SEC released the DAO Report of Investigation and continued for nearly a year after the report’s publication, eventually raising several billion dollars worth of digital assets globally, including a portion from US investors.  Block.one did not register its ICO as a securities offering pursuant to the federal securities laws, nor did it qualify for or seek an exemption from the registration requirements.

“A number of US investors participated in Block.one’s ICO,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “Companies that offer or sell securities to US investors must comply with the securities laws, irrespective of the industry they operate in or the labels they place on the investment products they offer.”