SEC Launches its Own Fake ICO as Warning to Investors

Avi Rosten
  • The SEC's very own coin named "HoweyCoin" comes complete with a website featuring a team, testimonials and a whitepaper
  • The regulator hopes the fake coin will educate would-be investors about fraudulent ICOs

The SEC (The US Securities and Exchange commission) has today announced an intriguing new initiative designed to educate investors about fraudulent ICOs.

The regulator has launched its own ICO - HoweyCoin - complete with a website showcasing the ICO pre-sale, team, whitepaper - and even tweets touting the potential of the new coin.

The coin aims to revolutionize the travel business, explaining that most travel businesses need “processing, centralized currency and…nickel and dime fees that add up to literally billions.”

Howeycoin differs, however, because:

“HoweyCoins utilize the latest crypto-technology to allow travelers to purchase all segments without these limitations, allowing HoweyCoin users to buy, sell, and trade in a frictionless environment – where they use HoweyCoins to purchase travel OR as a government-backed, freely tradable investment – or both!”


The twist is that HoweyCoin is fake - and users who try and invest in the sale are redirected to the SEC’s educational site which reads:

“If You Responded To An Investment Offer Like This, You Could Have Been Scammed – HoweyCoins Are Completely Fake!”


Presumably named after the legal “Howey test” that the SEC uses to determine whether a financial instrument is a security, the ICO claims that investors can expect to receive 1-2% returns and offers token sale discounts to early investors alongside pictures of exotic locations.

In a press release, the SEC explained that the whitepaper included on the site was designed to mimic other whitepapers, and features:

“a complex yet vague explanation of the investment opportunity, promises of guaranteed returns, and a countdown clock that shows time is quickly running out on the deal of a lifetime."


While many within the crypto world regularly express their discontent with regulatory bodies and see them as stifling the industry, this latest move from the SEC will no doubt serve as an important warning to would-be investors, and might at least raise a smile from the regulator’s detractors.

Featured Image Credit: "Securities and Exchange Commission" by "Scott S" via Flickr; licensed under "CC BY 2.0"

Republic of San Marino Expands Its Advisory Committee in Its Quest to Be a World-class Blockchain Nation

San Marino is a microstate completely surrounded by north-central Italy. The country might be the world’s oldest republic, but its plans with blockchain technology are cutting-edge. Its goal is to become a world-leading hub for blockchain. In order to get there, the Government is building a world-class team of experts to advise it.

Regulatory certainty is not something currently associated with blockchain and cryptocurrencies. San Marino Innovation, a state-owned company, is building a robust legal and regulatory framework for companies wanting to advance blockchain technology within the country, giving them certainty. Last week its first set of rules was ratified by the Government Decree.

Sergio Mottola, President of San Marino Innovation, said:

San Marino is ideally placed to become a global blockchain hub. By nurturing this disruptive technology, The Republic wants to become a leading country in blockchain technology, backed by favorable regulation and legislation that attracts and incubates innovative startups, as well as enterprise companies which wish to trial digital ledger technology, creating an environment in which their digital economy ideas can thrive.

San Marino Innovation’s remit extends to studying the applications of blockchain technology. It hopes this understanding will give it the edge in creating legislation that is progressive and welcoming to startups wishing to develop digital ledger technology. To bolster its efforts, it has appointed José Maria Macedo as its tokenomics expert. José currently works at the crypto advisory firm, AmaZix where he holds the position of head of advisory.

Mottola explains:

We have sought global experts to help build our vision, and we are pleased to add José Maria Macedo, partner at AmaZix, to the committee as our tokenomics expert, and to advise on blockchain regulation and policy.

Macedo, Partner and Head of Advisory at AmaZix, said:

It’s an honor to have been selected to join the committee of San Marino Innovation. With the backing of the Government of the Republic, it is building an ecosystem that will attract the best blockchain businesses from around the world and secure San Marino’s place as a leading global blockchain hub.