The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused crypto influencer Ian Balina, alleging that the crypto personality failed to file a registration statement with the commission for his offering and sale of Sparkster’s SPRK tokens, and no registration exemption was applicable.
He also allegedly failed to disclose the compensation he received while promoting Sparkster’s initial SPRK coin offering (ICOICO) on social media, according to the SEC.
Sparkster offered investors a slice of its “no-code” software development platform by purchasing SPRK tokens, which claimed to allow users to develop software with minimal technical coding skills. A product demo can still be viewed here.
The SEC is seeking “injunctive relief, reimbursement, civil penalties, and other appropriate and necessary equitable relief.” If the charges stick, it would mean Balina would no longer be able to promote titles.
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 have been 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 states. “As a result, these transactions took place in the United States.”
The influencer took to Twitter to announce that he was “excited to make this fight public”.
“This frivolous accusation by the SEC 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.”
Excited to make this fight public.
This frivolous accusation by the SEC sets a bad precedent for the entire crypto industry.
If investing in a private sale with a discount is a crime, the entire crypto VC space is in trouble.
Balina has approximately 143,000 Twitter followers and 110,000 YouTube subscribers at the time of writing, as well as books on Amazon and Audible, and mainstream media appearances in the the wall street journal, CNBCand Forbes.
The Ugandan-born entrepreneur quit his job as a salesman 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.
Decrypt has yet to receive a comment from Balina as of press time.
Balina Sparkster ICO Promotion
Balina gave the token a 90% “Hall of Fame” ranking on his ICO investment spreadsheet and promoted it to users in a private Telegram group of about 50 people, according to the SEC filing.
The company incorporated in the Cayman Islands is now defunct, with the last tweet of their current business account in 2021.
The SPRK ICO, which the SEC confirmed was unregistered, took place between April and July 2018, raising approximately $30 million from nearly 4,000 investors located overseas and in the United States. United.
Balina reportedly signed a contract to invest around $5 million in the Sparkster offering before promoting the offered SPRK tokens on YouTube, Telegram and other social media. platforms.
Although the SEC claimed that he agreed to receive a 30% bonus from Sparkster on the tokens he purchased under Sparkster’s offer, Balina allegedly never publicly disclosed the consideration he received. received for his promotion.
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