Titanium Blockchain CEO Sentenced to Four Years in Prison

In a cryptocurrency fraud scheme that took place in late 2017 and early 2018, investors purchased BARs, a crypto token, to participate in an initial coin offering (ICO) for Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services (TBIS), a company founded by Michael Stollery. The ICO raised approximately $21 million from investors in the United States and overseas. However, in 2018, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Stollery of not registering the ICO with the regulator and other allegations.

In July 2022, Stollery pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud for his role in the fraud scheme. He admitted to falsifying aspects of TBIS’ whitepapers, planting fake client testimonials on the TBIS website, and falsely claiming business relationships with the United States Federal Reserve, which misled investors about TBIS’ legitimacy and prospects for profit. He also admitted to commingling ICO investors’ funds with his own and using a portion to pay for unrelated expenses.

Although Stollery was facing up to 20 years in prison, he will instead serve a total of four years and three months for his involvement in the cryptocurrency fraud scheme. The SEC has been increasing its actions against the cryptocurrency space in recent years, with 30 enforcement actions against digital-asset market participants in 2022, up 50% from the 20 actions in 2021. Of the 30 enforcement actions in 2022, 14 involved initial coin offerings (ICOs), with more than half of these including a fraud allegation.

According to Abe Chernin, vice president of Cornerstone Research and co-head of its FinTech practice, the SEC continues to pursue actions alleging that tokens issued in ICO-related unregistered securities offerings were investment contracts subject to SEC regulation and enforcement. Chernin also noted an increase in assistance to the SEC from outside agencies and organizations during crypto-related investigations under the Gensler administration.

Overall, the sentencing of Michael Stollery is a reminder of the SEC’s increased scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry and its commitment to prosecuting fraudulent activities.


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U.K. Treasury Proposes Ambitious Crypto Regulations

His Majesty’s Treasury has finally released a long-awaited consultation document in preparation for the imminent regulation of cryptocurrencies in the United Kingdom. The comprehensive paper, which is 80 pages long, covers a wide variety of subjects, ranging from the challenges posed by algorithmic stablecoins to the concept of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and initial coin offers (ICOs).

The Treasury has claimed that the recommendations aim to position the financial services sector of the United Kingdom in the forefront of crypto and to prevent harsh control measures that have gathered traction worldwide throughout the crypto winter. This is the intention behind the proposals.

It was declared by the Treasury that there would not be a distinct regulatory system for cryptocurrency since it will be governed under the framework of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 in the United Kingdom (FSMA). The objective is to create an environment in which crypto and conventional financial systems compete on an equal footing. However, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is Britain’s primary financial regulator, will modify the laws established by the FSMA in order to apply to the market for digital assets.

At the very least, one of the annoying effects of that ruling is that it requires participants in the cryptocurrency market to go through the registration process again. They were previously required to go through the procedure in order to get a licence under the FCA’s licencing framework, but now they will have to be evaluated “against a broader variety of indicators.”

The good news is that, unlike in the conventional banking industry, organisations dealing in cryptocurrencies won’t be required to frequently publish their market data. On the other hand, the exchanges would be obligated to store the data and ensure that it may be accessed at any time.

In contrast to several of its overseas peers, the Treasury Department has opted not to prohibit the use of algorithmic stablecoins. They will instead be classified as “unbacked crypto assets,” and not as “stablecoins,” as a result of this change. Despite this, the word “stable” cannot be used in any of the marketing for the algorithmic coins that are being done for cryptocurrencies.

According to the consultation document, a distinct regulatory framework for crypto lending platforms would be examined, and it should require lenders to take into consideration an acceptable collateral value and contingency preparations in case the participants’ main market counterparties collapse.

“Beginning immediately, the government need to promote deeper engagement with the business sector in order to design a comprehensive, risk-based framework that is in line with worldwide best practise.”

Nick Taylor, who is in charge of public policy for the EMEA region at the global cryptocurrency exchange Luno, believes that the sector is now through a watershed moment. He made the following observation: “Whilst there is still a distance to go until new laws come into place, we’re heartened by the size of the Government’s ambition.”

On April 30th, 2023, the consultation will come to an end. Up until that point, the British government is interested in hearing feedback from any and all relevant parties, including crypto companies, financial institutions, trade associations, representative bodies, academic institutions, law firms, and consumer advocacy organisations.


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EOS Network Foundation reveals plans to pursue a $4.1B lawsuit against Block.one

In a new chapter of the EOS community versus creators saga, the EOS Network Foundation’s (ENF) founder and “community-elected CEO” Yves La Rose revealed that they are preparing for a legal “war” against EOS creators Block.one.

According to La Rose, they are reviewing any potential legal action “to seek $4.1B in damages.” Currently, the EOS leader mentioned that a Canadian law firm is working with them to explore what legal action they can take against the original developers of EOS.

In a blog post, the foundation announced that many members of the EOS community are very dissatisfied with Block.one.

“Block.one has not kept its word regarding past promises and that both the community and individual EOS users have been harmed as a result.”

Last year, the foundation announced that they have gone through negotiations with Block.one to find common ground. Both parties engaged in discussions in an attempt to settle the issues in a fair manner. However, ENF notes that Block.one walked away from the negotiations. As a result, the block producers of EOS deemed it necessary to freeze the vesting for future EOS token earnings for Block.one.

Related: New research claims 21 accounts pumped the $4.4B EOS ICO with wash trades

Back in 2018, Block.one conducted an initial coin offering of EOS tokens (EOS), selling 900 million tokens for more than $4 billion, the biggest ICO held during that time. However, since then, many have been disappointed by the direction that the company took.

A few months back, La Rose described EOS as a failure. Citing the market capitalization and the decrease in value, he said that it’s a terrible financial and time investment. He also said that the community lost key developers and turned away from blockchain development and shifted towards asset management.