SEC uses emergency order to halt Blockvest ICO scam

SEC uses emergency order to halt Blockvest ICO scam

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Blockvest ICO halted by SECThe US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) used an emergency court order to halt a planned initial coin offering (ICO) by Blockvest LLC and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold, III.

The SEC said Blockvest falsely claimed it was approved by the SEC, was using the SEC seal without permission, a violation of federal law, and falsely claiming its cryptocurrency fund was “licensed and regulated.”

“We allege that this ICO is using both the SEC seal and a made-up crypto regulatory authority to trick investors into believing the ICO was approved by regulators,” said Robert A. Cohen, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit. “The SEC does not endorse investment products and investors should be highly skeptical of any claims suggesting otherwise.”


Fake agency promoted ICO


Blockchain Exchange CommissionThe order also halts ongoing pre-ICO sales alleging Ringgold promoted the Blockvest ICO with a fake agency he created called the Blockchain Exchange Commission using a graphic similar to the SEC seal and the same address as SEC’s Washington DC headquarters. The address was since changed to the company’s San Diego location on its website but the LinkedIn page still shows the DC address and claims between 1000 and 5000 employees.

Talk about audacity!

The Blockchain Exchange Commission’s five “Founding Members” are all insider companies connected to or owned directly by Ringgold and no list of members who may have paid exorbitant membership fees exists, nor are any committees or events detailed.

ICO scam warningBlockvest and Ringgold also claimed connections to the international accounting firm Deloitte and continued promoting connections with the National Futures Association (NFA) even after it sent a cease-and-desist letter to stop them from using the NFA’s seal and from making false claims about Blockvest’s status with that organization.

The SEC order freezes defendants’ assets and temporarily prohibits Blockvest and Ringgold from violating anti-fraud provisions and securities registration provisions until an October 18, 2018 hearing.


Promotional stunts typical of scammers


The Blockvest website features a dozen or more logos linking to influential organizations such as the SEC, Deloitte, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, blockchain platform NEM, and others with no explanation of any relationships.

Blockvest whitepaperThe 11-page Blockvest whitepaper is nonsensical and inadequate in every way. It fails to explain the technology, offers confusing information on plans for launching its service and fails to clearly explain how it will use ICO proceeds.

The descriptions of the founders, management group and advisors are filled with spelling and grammar errors and do little to explain key roles for the organization. Many of the bios are thin on experience in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.


Run, in the opposite direction


There are more than enough warning signs for investors to run in the opposite direction. It’s just another scam ICO looking for unsuspecting mom-and-pop investors.

The SEC has done everyone a favor by stopping this circus in its tracks.

Nonetheless, the website is still live, so let the investor beware.