$100 Million Crypto Startup 'Liquidated' By Swiss Regulators, 'Illegal Activity' Confirmed

Envion, a Zug, Switzerland-based firm focused on developing “mobile blockchain mining” software, has been accused of “unlawfully receiving deposits” from approximately 37,000 investors.

According to a report published on March 27th, 2019 by SwissInfo.ch, Envion’s management “unlawfully accepted over CHF90 million ($90.5 million)” through its initial coin offering (ICO). The firm reportedly did not have the required “statutory license,” however it still took money from “more than 37,000 investors” - who purchased Envion’s EVN tokens. Payments to Envion were made in USD, Ether (ETH), and Bitcoin (BTC).

FINMA: Envion Did Not Have Banking License Yet Still Accepted “Public Deposits”

Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), Switzerland’s financial regulator, has determined that accepting the payments “qualified as public deposits” under the nation’s Banking Act. In order to accept such payments, the Act requires that Envion (or any other firm) hold a banking license.

In addition to not having a banking license, FINMA revealed that Envion’s management did not issue the company’s EVN tokens “under the same conditions to all investors.” Moreover, FINMA found that there was “no international audit unit” - which is a requirement under Switzerland’s financial laws.

Feeling “Totally Exonerated” As All Proceedings Seemingly Come To An End

As noted by local news outlets, Envion is “now in liquidation” and FINMA will “not be taking any further action.” Notably, the “details of the bankruptcy proceedings” have not been disclosed, however they are currently being overseen by Zug’s bankruptcy office.

In response to FINMA’s investigation, Matthias Woestmann, the former CEO at Envion, said that the financial regulator had “not identified any misappropriation of the assets entrusted to the company.” Woestmann added that he was relieved because it seems as if there may be no further charges against him or Envion’s board of directors.

Woestmann also felt “totally exonerated” as he believes it’s “the end of the proceedings” against him and the firm’s board members. The former CEO told reporters that he hopes the funds will be returned to the investors as soon as possible.

Alleged New York Fraudster Indicted By US Department Of Justice

In a seemingly more serious crime, a New York-based crypto scammer is facing 9 different charges as he has been accused of stealing almost $200,000 from unsuspecting investors. The 46-year-old Staten Island resident has been charged by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for “using smoke and mirrors to allegedly dupe investors into paying his company—CabbageTech, for advice and strategies on cryptocurrency trading.”

The defendant, named Patrick K. McDonnell, had allegedly been soliciting investments on Facebook and Twitter. However, the DoJ revealed in a press release (published on March 26th, 2019) that the “defendant reportedly stole the money for personal use.”

Those Banned From Facebook May Not Be Able to Use Its Cryptocurrency Libra

Facebook’s two days of congressional hearings on the social media giant’s cryptocurrency ambitions seemingly revealed that those who have been banned from Facebook may not have access to Libra.

During the congressional hearing Facebook had to answer some tough questions, and one of them came from Representative Sean Duffy, which asked the company’s cryptocurrency head, David Marcus, who’ll have access to Libra.

The Congressman initially asked Marcus who could use the cryptocurrency, to which Calibra’s CEO answered: “anyone that can open a Calibra account, that can go through KYC [know-your-customer checks] in countries where we can operate.”

Duffy then referenced two individuals banned from Facebook for violating its community guidelines, Louis Farrakhan and Milo Yiannopoulo, and asked whether they’ll be able to use the social media giant’s cryptocurrency.

Marcus ended up replying he doesn’t “know yet,” after seeing Duffy hold a $20 bill and ask hin who can use it. His point was that cash doesn’t discriminate, and that anyone who can hold it can use it.

While throughout the hearing Marcus tried to point out the company will follow appropriate regulations and comply with lawmakers, Duffy responded that a proper answer would be “as long as you abide by the law, you can use Libra.” The fact he didn’t get this answer, Duffy said, gave him “great pause.”

Speaking to The Daily Beast Elka Looks, a Facebook spokeswoman, clarified Marcus addressed the Congressman’s concerns later on in the hearing. She stated:

For Libra, anyone who is engaging in lawful activity will be able to transact on the network. Facebook will have no say. For Calibra, there is no policy in place yet, but we will share it when it is closer to being finalized.

The news outlet adds that Calibra, Facebook’s wallet to send, receive, and hold Libra, doesn’t yet have final terms of service or a privacy policy. All of this means that those who’ve been banned on Facebook may not have access to its cryptocurrency.

As CryptoGlobe covered, Congressman Warren Davidson implied during the hearings Facebook’s crypto is a ‘shitcoin’ as it doesn’t have some of the properties bitcoin has. The Congressman made it clear bitcoin has no central authority that can censor transactions or dilute its value, while Libra has the Libbra Association.