AFM: ICO is "Dangerous cocktail"

Netherlands Financial Markets Authority AFM reported on high risks associated with ICO
14 November 2017   661

Dutch financial regulator warned investors on high risks of initial coin offering campaigns.

The Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) – the country's equivalent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission –released a statement today outlining the risks it sees in the market for new cryptocurrencies, including those issued through the crowdsale model.

Although the AFM sees the possibilities of blockchain technology for financial services, it points to the high risks of ICOs in the current hype. The high risk of scams and loss of intake combined with the hype around ICOs at the moment is a dangerous cocktail.
 

Merel van Vroonhoven

Chairman, AFM

Also, the AFM listed main ICO risks:

  • The anonymous and transboundary nature of blockchain technology makes it possible to use an improved scheme of the traditional pyramid, which is difficult to recognize.
  • The promise of profitability is overstated, while ICO startups are projects at an early stage of development.
  • Private investors do not have enough experience and knowledge to assess the investment attractiveness.
  • ICO-projects do not provide exhaustive information for risk assessment.
  • Many projects have speculative features and are subject to manipulation.
  • They are an ideal way of laundering funds received illegally.

 

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Centra Tech Inc. Co-Founder accused With Fraud by SEC

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Centra Tech Inc. co-founder, Raymond Trapani with ICO fraud  
25 April 2018   77

The charge came as the result of the SEC’s investigations into Centra’s controversial $32 million USD initial coin offering (ICO). Mr. Trapani is the third and final Centra co-founder to be accused for taking part in the ICO.

Raymond Trapani, a co-founder of Centra Tech Inc., has been charged by the SEC for his participation in “a fraudulent scheme connected with Centra’s 2017 ICO.” In 2017 Centra made headlines after enlisting celebrity approval from Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled. Two other firm`s co-founders, Sohrab “Sam” Sharma and Robert Farkas, were charged by officials earlier this month for their engagement  in the distribution of “CTR Tokens” to investors.

A changed variant of the SEC’s complaint demands that Trapani was the “mastermind of Centra’s fraudulent ICO,” with an SEC press release alleging that “Centra [was] marketed with claims about nonexistent business relationships with major credit card companies, fictional executive bios, and misrepresentations about the viability of the company’s core financial services products.” The SEC accuses Mr. Trapani and Mr. Sharma of “manipulat[ing] trading in the CTR Tokens to generate interest in the company and prop up the price of the tokens.”

We allege that the Centra co-founders went to great lengths to create the false impression that they had developed a viable, cutting-edge technology. 
Robert Cohen, Chief, SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit

 

The SEC has disclosed a text mail sent to Mr. Farkas and Mr. Trapani from Mr Sharma in what Mr. Sharma said to his colleagues “[w]e gotta get that s[***] removed everywhere and blame freelancers lol.” Mr. Trapani also demanded that Mr. Sharma “cook [him] up” a fraudulent document whilst the company was seeking to get CTR tokens listed on exchanges under misleading pretexts. Mr. Sharma replied to the request with “Don’t text me that s[***] lol. Delete.”

At the same time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has also looked for criminal accusations against Trapani. The SEC has revealed that text messages  jointly used between Centra’s co-founders discovered the scam purposes of the defendants.