The United States Securities and Exchange Commission announced on Tuesday that is has charged bitcoin entrepreneur and evangelist Erik Voorhees with offering shares without first registering them, as required by federal securities laws.
The share offerings are directly related to two-bitcoin related websites, according to reports. According to the SEC’s release, Mr. Voorhees is said to have issued prospectuses and solicited investors to buy shares in SatoshiDICE and FeedZeBirds.
Investors are said to have bought shares using bitcoin, which led to profits exceeding $15,000 for Voorhees, according to SEC information.
Voorhees has reportedly agreed to settle charges against him by giving up the $15,843.98 profits and paying a stiff penalty of $35,000 on top of that. That effectively brings total paid by Voorhees to over $50,000.
From the source: View the SEC news release here.
“All issuers selling securities to the public must comply with the registration provisions of the securities laws, including issuers who seek to raise funds using Bitcoin,” says Andrew Ceresney, who heads the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “We will continue to focus on enforcing our rules and regulations as they apply to digital currencies.”
The first case of an unregistered offering took place in May 2012, when 2,600 bitcoins were said to have been raised in exchange for 30,000 shares in FeedZeBirds — a website that pays Twitter users bitcoins who forward sponsored messages.
From August 2012 through February 2013, there were two separate offerings in SatoshiDICE (a gambling website). 13 million shares were issued in exchange for 50,600 bitcoins (worth of $33 million today but $722,000 at the time).
The SEC says that Voorhees took to the popular Bitcointalk forum to solicit these investments, along with other social media outlets like Facebook.
These offerings were even called “IPOs” despite their unlawful status.
According to the SEC, Voorheese violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933.
He has agreed to cease and desist from offering unregistered securities.