U.S. securities regulators settled charges on Tuesday against a Russian firm that provides ratings of initial coin offerings (ICOs) for failing to disclose that it was paid for its ratings by ICO issuers.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled with the firm, ICO Rating, which agreed to pay a US$162,000 penalty and over US$100,000 in disgorgement to resolve allegations that it failed to disclose that it received payments received from issuers for publicizing their offerings of digital asset securities.
“The securities laws require promoters, including both people and entities, to disclose compensation they receive for touting investments so that potential investors are aware they are viewing a paid promotional item,” said Melissa Hodgman, associate director of the SEC’s enforcement division, in a statement.
“This requirement applies regardless of whether the securities being touted are issued using traditional certificates or on the blockchain,” she added.
The firm settled the case without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations.