With legal actions filed against ICOs such as Tezos and Centra, it has become obvious that many more companies who opt not to register with SEC and whose crowdsale doesn’t meet certain criteria may be faced with class action lawsuits this year.
The latest lawsuit has been filed against ATB Coin LLC, its founder and co-founder. The legal action which was filed by an investor Raymond Balestra who sought a trial based on the allegation that ATB coin raised more than $20 million in crowdsale without registering their token as securities with SEC.
The suit seek determination from the court on the legality of issuance of unregistered securities by the company in an action that is apparently predicated on the ATB Coin being securities. The court which is expected to start a jury trial to determine if the company’s token is securities or not.
The ATB Coin was advertised as a high-speed, inexpensive platform based on blockchain and announced that their ICO would hold June 12 through July 12, but the suit alleged that as at September 11th that the sales were still ongoing and had been segmented into tiers.
Mr. Balestra who invested about $600 worth of cryptocurrencies in the crowdsale filed the suit reminiscent of the class action suits that have been witnessed by companies such as Tezos against an ICO that the number of investors is yet to be determined. What is certain is that the $24 million raised was not registered as security.
A securities attorney, Mr. Jim Bundy said that we are beginning to see a pattern in these suits in which aggrieved investors take on companies for ICOs gone awry. He was sure that the defendants would move for dismissal of the said suit and that courts will be compelled to make what is security clear to investors. That wait is likely going to take many months.
In all these, it is obvious that the courts will be tested in a bid to come up with clear and independent declarations that will pave the way for how cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are viewed.
In a Washington court, another ICO Giga Watt has been sued for a delay in issuing tokens to investors. These group of investors is worried that the company has, after taking their money in cryptocurrencies neither issued them tokens nor supplied the mining equipment that the company promised in their whitepaper.
Giga Watt which was advertised as a turnkey mining solution raised more than $20 million, money which the investors have told the court is now worth more than $100 million due to the appreciation in value of cryptocurrencies. The plaintiffs say that they have lost both time and money since they have neither gotten their cryptocurrencies back, nor the promised token and that it doesn’t seem as if they would get either soon since the expected mining equipment the company hopes on is yet to be delivered.
David Silver, one of the attorneys representing the investors said that though Giga Watt stated that their token is not a security, that would not preclude the fact that it could be a security prior to having ‘consumptive’ features.
It is obvious that the concern of the investors is the short time gain they ought to have had, had Giga Watt issued them tokens within the specified period of time. Dave Carson, the Giga Watt founder was the owner of Megabigpower, a mining company that collapsed in 2014 after partners failed to meet up with the supply of hardware. Though Carson claimed that some private partners had already raised $1 million prior to the ICO, it may not be wrong to infer that his new venture Giga Watt may just be about failing, with its current travails.