Does the SEC’s ICO Lawsuit Against Kik Go Too Far?20

Since 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been sending warning signals to the cryptocurrency industry over so-called “initial coin offerings” (ICOs), which entail selling digital tokens to the public that can--in theory at least--one day be used to participate in an online service. Those warnings have so far come in form of public statements and settlements. But on Tuesday, the agency brought out the heavy artillery by suing social media company Kik in federal court, alleging the company’s $100 million ICO amounted to an illegal sale of unregistered securities.

The lawsuit did not come as surprise, especially as a foundation tied to Kik recently launched a “defend crypto” campaign, whose purpose, in the words of Kik’s CEO, is to “fight the SEC in court.” The campaign, which invited others to contribute to its legal battle, was akin to waving a red flag in front of the regulator.

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