SEC Slaps $50,000 Fine on Delaware-Based Crypto Investment Fund

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On December 7, 2018, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a cease and desist order and a penalty of $50,000 against Delaware-based crypto assets fund firm CoinAlpha Advisors LLC.

SEC Hits Crypto Fund for Violating Securities Law  

According to the filing published on the commission’s website, the SEC charged CoinAlpha Advisors LLC for acting as an unregistered securities dealer. Additionally, the filing highlights that the accused company violated SEC laws by offering securities through interstate commerce.

Reportedly, CoinAlpha LLC was established in July 2017 to act as manager of the investment fund dubbed CoinAlpha Flacon LP. The fund was launched in October 2017 with the sole purpose of investing in digital assets.

From October 2017 to May 2018, the investment fund managed to raise over $600,000 from twenty-two investors spread across multiple U.S. states. As part of the investment, investors gained limited partnership interest in the crypto-focused investment fund. The SEC filing states:

“Through this offering, the investors purchased limited partnership interests in the Fund in exchange for a pro rata share of any profits derived from the Fund’s investment in digital assets.”

The order notes that CoinAlpha filed for a “Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities” a month after it was set up. However, the request for exemption was turned down by the securities regulator citing that the firm was not eligible for such an indemnity.

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Additionally, the agency pointed out a number of irregularities in the CoinAlpha’s know-your-customer (KYC) system. The SEC states that the investment fund failed to ensure the status of the accreditation status of its investors.

CoinAlpha Cooperates with the SEC

Notably, CoinAlpha agreed to halt its offering after being contacted by the securities regulator in October 2018. Furthermore, the Delaware-based fund cooperated with SEC to get its website, offering strategy materials, and social media posts audited.

The commission reached an agreement with CoinAlpha by imposing a $50,000 fine and instructing the firm to reimburse all its investors, to which the company has agreed. The filing read:

“Respondent further voluntarily reimbursed all fees it had already collected, surrendered all rights to future management and incentive fees, unwound the Fund, and made payments to ensure that no Fund investor suffered a loss. During the Commission staff’s investigation, Respondent retained a third party who determined that all 22 investors were accredited investors.”  

Recently, the SEC has been aggressively pursuing crypto-related firms and individuals. Just a week back, the commission fined American professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer DJ Khaled for illegally promoting crypto projects. Both celebrities paid a combined penalty of over $750,000.

Is SEC trying to make crypto sector more institutional friendly by removing entities operating illegally? Let us know your views in the comments section.