Seattle startup Unikrn pays a $6.1 million effective and disable its UnikoinGold (UKG) cryptocurrency to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that the eSports betting firm performed an unregistered preliminary coin providing in violation of federal securities legal guidelines.
Unikrn, led by CEO Rahul Sood, a veteran entrepreneur who beforehand oversaw Microsoft’s enterprise capital arm, agreed to pay the penalty with out admitting or denying the SEC fees.
The corporate, which has been backed by movie star traders together with Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher, raised $31 million in the initial coin offering three years in the past. In charging the corporate, the SEC mentioned Unikrn “did not register the providing or qualify for an exemption.”
The $6.1 million settlement represents “considerably all the firm’s property,” the SEC said in a news release.
In a statement on its web site, Unikrn mentioned the SEC established tips after the ICO which “utilized retroactively, raised many questions as regards to the way forward for UKG.”
“Unikrn’s precedence was in rising and innovating the Unikrn platform whereas looking for frequent floor with the SEC that may permit us to advertise the deserves of UKG,” the corporate mentioned. “In need of that, our different choice was to achieve settlement on UKG’s previous and discontinue it transferring ahead in order that our energies may very well be successfully directed.”
In a public statement, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce mentioned she disagreed together with her colleagues’ dedication that the ICO constituted a securities providing.
“Whereas many SEC enforcement actions on this house embrace allegations of fraud, Unikrn falls throughout the narrower class of token issuers charged solely with violating Part 5 of the Securities Act,” Peirce mentioned. “In different phrases, Unikrn is alleged to have supplied and offered its tokens in an unregistered providing and in a fashion that didn’t qualify for an exemption; it’s not alleged to have engaged in any fraud in doing so.”
She continued, “The problem of discerning a transparent authorized line is particularly tough with respect to new types of enterprise and novel applied sciences. Entrepreneurs could also be compelled to decide on between unpalatable choices: expending their restricted capital on pricey authorized session and compliance or forgoing their pursuit of innovation on account of concern of changing into topic to an enforcement motion. A regulatory protected harbor may resolve this sad dilemma.”
Kristina Littman, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, mentioned in an announcement that the settlement “permits us to return considerably all of Unikrn’s property to already-harmed traders and contains measures to forestall future gross sales to retail traders, together with the disabling of the tokens.”
Requested concerning the monetary implications of the settlement, Sood informed GeekWire by way of e mail, “Unikrn will proceed to function our enterprise, we simply needed to get this put behind us so we may give attention to the long run. We’re not going wherever.”
Unikrn additionally reached a settlement with the Washington State Division of Monetary Establishments on fees of violating state registration provisions associated to its ICO.
ICOs are a controversial and standard mechanism for firms — usually within the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries — to lift cash. Anybody, not simply accredited traders, should purchase tokens to be redeemed for gadgets on the issuing firm’s platform, or transformed to extra mainstream cryptocurrencies akin to Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Based in 2014, Unikrn runs an esports betting platform throughout the globe, permitting folks to guess on eSports matches very similar to they do with conventional sports activities.
“Though this settlement additionally means Unikrn might want to discontinue help for UnikoinGold, it received’t cease us from innovating on funds and on the blockchain,” the corporate mentioned. “We are going to proceed to supply regulator-approved wagering and different providers with main currencies together with: Fiat Currencies, Bitcoin, BitcoinCash, Ethereum, Dogecoin, GUSD, USDC, PAX, BUSD, Ripple and others. Going ahead, Unikrn can even think about different choices internationally based mostly on group suggestions.”
In 2018, Unikrn was sued on allegations that the corporate skirted federal rules in the course of the ICO.
See the complete SEC order under.