‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token’s Promoter Investigated by Florida Regulators

The Takeaway Florida regulators are investigating Karatbars, a German company that’s been promoting a token tied to a Miami “crypto bank” without any banking license in the state. Karatbars previously issued a cryptocurrency purportedly backed by gold, but CoinDesk has been unable to verify the existence of the mine the company says produced the gold. Before it entered the crypto space, Karatbars sold gold products online through an affiliate marketing system that regulators in three countries warned the public to avoid. CoinDesk interviewed three of Karatbars’ current “affiliates,” who said…

SEC Charges Adult Entertainment Token Platform With 2017 ICO Fraud

The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission charged Jonathan Lucas, 27, the CEO of online adult entertainment marketplace, with running a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) scheme. According to the SEC’s lawsuit, the company claimed that investors could purchase its token and use them to request certain actions in a live adult performance on the platform. “Fantasy Market is a role-playing performance marketplace for live, client-controlled digital performances,” according to the company’s LinkedIn profile. “Through the use of our tokens, you control what the performers say and do during the show.” All…

How Celsius Turned Its Crypto ICO Into a Billion-Dollar Lending Business

The Takeaway: Crypto lending startup Celsius raised $50 million in a token sale in 2018. Lending volume has surged since then, with 10,415 Celsius users taking out fiat loans after locking in crypto collateral. BitGo confirmed to CoinDesk that it held $1 billion worth of crypto deposits from Celsius over the past year. CEL tokens are trading for roughly the same price today as they were last autumn, shortly after the token sale. So far, Celsius says it has not been contacted by any regulatory body with concerns about CEL…

This Crypto Is Worth Less Than 1 Cent. VCs Are Betting Millions on Its Future

Not all token sales led to quick failures or cash grabs. Some were part of a broader, albeit ambitious, business strategy. The blockchain startup Patientory, which makes a consumer health app and offers enterprise data management services to hospitals and clinics, just closed a $5.2 million Series A led by R/GA Ventures. This comes as the startup’s first funding round since it split off from the Patientory Association, a nonprofit created after the May 2017 initial coin offering (ICO) of ethereum-based PTOY tokens raised $7.2 million. “With the token, it…

Co-Founder Sues Israeli Blockchain Firm for Breach of Contract

Co-founders of Israeli blockchain firm Orbs are being sued by former partner Elad Arad following the dissolution of his shares in a failed joint venture, Cointree Capital. According to Israeli business media Globes, Arad is suing partners and brothers Uriel and Daniel Peled, Orbs, Cointree Management Microverse, Hexa Labs, and Hexa Solutions following a failed 18-month mediation in a Tel Aviv court. Arad claims the brothers committed “conspiracy, deceit and serious fraud, as well as unlawful enrichment.” The official report accuses the brothers of breach of fiduciary duty, oppression of a…

Bancor Raised $153 Million and Found Actual Users. Why Did Its Token Tank?

The cryptocurrency industry is still grappling with the legal implications of the initial coin offering (ICO) trend of 2017. Two years after the token boom, the value of Bancor’s BNT token is in the dumps – sinking from $4.49 in July 2017 to an all-time low last week of $0.44, according to CoinMarketCap. Yet, the project’s main investors are still holding. For example, Yoni Assia, CEO of the crypto exchange eToro, described the $153 million Bancor ICO as a “pivotal” moment for the industry and told CoinDesk he is holding BNT…

Messaging Giant Telegram’s ICO Token Is at Last Going on Public Sale

Messaging app giant Telegram’s gram token, previously sold to accredited investors in the biggest ICO of all time back in early 2018, is at last to be offered to the public. As reported by TechCrunch, a limited sale of the gram token will take place on the Liquid exchange from July 10. The offering reportedly comes before a full public sale planned for October. The cost of the token and the targeted total for the raise are not being disclosed as yet. The sale is being made via Gram Asia, which TechCrunch says…

$1 Billion Valuation May Elude Ethereum Co-Founder’s New Blockchain Polkadot

Blockchain project Polkadot’s bid for a $1.2 billion valuation has hit a snag. Since January, the Web3 Foundation, the Switzerland-based nonprofit behind the project, has been trying to raise up to $60 million through a private token sale. According to people familiar with the situation, three Chinese funds have agreed to invest $15 million in the project’s DOT tokens. However, these three investors agreed to pay prices that, on average, valued the project below $1 billion, the sources said – falling short of the unicorn threshold Polkadot was reportedly seeking.…

Binance, OKEx and KuCoin Are Using IEOs to Command the Spotlight

Token sales haven’t stopped since the 2017 boom. They’ve just changed names. Initial exchange offerings (IEOs) – where a cryptocurrency exchange offers a direct listing and launch campaign for a new startup token – are earning blockchain companies millions in 2019. Two sources, who both requested anonymity to avoid alienating exchange partners, told CoinDesk that some exchanges declined to list their tokens unless their startups paid hefty fees, in various formats depending on the exchange. These fees, the sources said, ranged from 10 percent of the startup’s equity, plus a…

Data Market Ocean Tries New Token Sale After CoinList Offering Misses Mark

After a token sale on CoinList failed to reach its target, data marketplace Ocean is trying again on crypto exchange Bittrex International. Ocean Protocol has a vision to become the ecosystem for “a new data economy,” its founder Bruce Pon told CoinDesk. With the release of Ocean’s version 1.0 beta network earlier in April, its tokens are ready to be used on the platform, but the company has not quite met its fundraising goal. Through its initial exchange offering (IEO), Ocean aims to raise $6.77 million in bitcoin, following a previous…