WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal regulators have accused a group of people of promoting a digital currency-related securities offering that has raised more than $ 2 billion from retail investors without being properly registered.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed the civil lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Friday. He alleges that a company called BitConnect used a network of promoters to sell the securities without registering the offer with the SEC, or registering as brokers as required by law.
Promoters have touted the benefits of investing in BitConnect’s program, creating testimonial-style videos and posting them to YouTube, sometimes multiple times a day, according to regulators. The promoters would have received commissions based on their success in attracting money from investors.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of enforcement actions involving digital assets that the SEC took from 2013. Actions against cryptocurrency issuers, brokers and exchanges came as digital currencies like Bitcoin have exploded in popularity in recent years amid extreme price volatility. . The SEC collected about $ 1.77 billion in penalties in settling cases, according to financial experts.
Digital currencies are not tied to a bank or government and allow users to spend money anonymously. The Biden administration plans to tighten the regulation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, in an effort to prevent the growing incidence of ransomware attacks that require payment in currencies.
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