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!”

HoweyCoin

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!”

SEC

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."

SEC

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"

Thai SEC Bans Three Cryptocurrencies From ICO Use, Base Trading Pairs

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently banned three major cryptocurrencies from being used in initial coin offerings (ICOs), and from being used as base trading pairs on cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country.

According to a report published by the Bangkok Post, the regulator no longer allows Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum Classic from being used in ICOs and on trading platforms, after assessing these cryptos’ “development, related news, and other important factors.”

The Bangkok Post points out that the ban shouldn’t have a large impact on investors, as no authorized ICO in the country accepts BCH, LTC, or ETC for investments, and no crypto exchange uses them as base trading pairs.

Currently, the Thai government has a list of allowed cryptocurrencies, and it includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Stellar. These can be used in ICOs and as base trading pairs, although they do not have a legal tender status to be used as payments for goods and services.

The government published a list of seven approved cryptos in July of last year, basing its decision on several factors, including liquidity and how many tokens were in circulation, as well as decentralization.

So far, seven crypto firms have been allowed to legally operate in Thailand, and five of them are crypto exchanges. Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Thailand reportedly asked financial institutions not to engage in “any business” related to cryptocurrencies.

The central bank’s move also saw it ask financial institutions to deny its customers the right yo buy cryptocurrencies using their credit cards. Despite the move, Thailand is reportedly still one of the countries with the largest number of residents owning cryptocurrencies.

In November of last year, Thailand’s deputy prime minister called for “more measures to control” cryptocurrencies, after explaining these have been becoming more sophisticated and were calling for authorities’ oversight.

Notably, Thailand has looked into blockchain voting. The country’s stock exchange is also reportedly looking to enter the cryptocurrency space.