The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States has filed charges against crypto influencer Ian Balina, stating that he failed to submit a registration statement with the agency for his offering and sale of Sparkster’s SPRK coins and that no registration exemption was applicable.
By purchasing SPRK tokens, investors could gain access to Sparkster’s “no-code” software creation platform, which promised to enable users to create applications with little to no technical knowledge of coding. You can still view a product demo here.
The SEC claims that he also failed to disclose the payment he got for using social media to advertise Sparkster’s SPRK initial coin offering (ICOICO).
If the accusations are upheld, Balina would no longer be permitted to market securities, and the SEC is asking for “injunctive relief, disgorgement, civil fines, and other relevant and necessary equitable remedy.”
The lawsuit states that a network of Ethereum blockchain nodes, which are concentrated more closely in the United States than in any other nation, “verified ETH contributions.” These transactions consequently took place in the United States.
The petition also makes the claim that all ETH contributions made to take part in the ICO were made in the US.
The influencer tweeted that he was “eager to take this fight public” and expressed his excitement.
He continued, “This baseless SEC case creates a negative precedent for the whole crypto business.” “The entire crypto VC market is in jeopardy if buying in a private sale at a discount is illegal.”
A settlement with the Commission had been “turned down,” he continued. Today, the SEC said that Sparkster and its CEO Sajjad Daya had reached a settlement and would give affected Sparkster investors $35 million. The settlement “allows the SEC to restore a considerable amount of money to investors and requires additional measures to protect investors, including the disabling of tokens to prevent their future sale,” according to Carolyn M. Welshhans, associate director of the SEC’s enforcement division.
By attempting to hold an alleged marketer of crypto assets accountable for violating federal securities laws, legal action against Balina “further protects investors,” the speaker continued. At the time of writing, Balina had approximately 143,000 Twitter followers, 110,000 YouTube subscribers, books on Amazon and Audible, and media appearances in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and Forbes.
In 2017, the entrepreneur from Uganda resigned his sales position at IBM to focus solely on promoting cryptocurrencies, creating content like “How to Make Millions with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)” that has received hundreds of millions of views. According to the SEC’s filing, Balina awarded the cryptocurrency a 90% “Hall of Fame” score on his ICO investing spreadsheet and pushed it to members of a secret Telegram group of about 50 people.
The last tweet sent from the Cayman Islands-incorporated company’s account was in 2021, marking its demise. Between April and July 2018, the SPRK ICO, which the SEC determined was unregistered, raised almost $30 million from close to 4,000 investors in the US and abroad.
Before marketing the offered SPRK tokens on YouTube, Telegram, and other social media platforms, Balina is said to have inked an agreement to contribute about $5 million to the Sparkster offering. Balina allegedly never revealed the payment he got for his promotion, despite the SEC’s assertion that he consented to receive a 30% incentive from Sparkster on the tokens he bought in the Sparkster Offering.
- Crypto influencer Ian Balina was charged by SEC in 2018 for running an unregistered ICO
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