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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has claimed that crypto influencer Ian Balina broke regulations during Sparkester’s $30,000 ICO in 2018.
As a result, the SEC is charging Balina.
The SEC alleges that the crypto personality failed to file a registration statement with the Commission for its offering and sale of Sparkster’s SPRK tokens.
An exemption from registration was not applicable.
According to the SEC, Balina also failed to disclose the compensation he received for promoting the initial coin offering from SPRK or ICOICO on social media.
Sparkster initially offered investors a portion of its “No Code” software development platform by purchasing SPRK tokens.
It has been claimed that the tokens allow users to develop software with minimal technical programming skills.
Accordingly, the SEC seeks “injunctive relief, disgorgement, civil penalties, and other appropriate and necessary equitable relief.”
If the allegations are upheld, Balina will no longer be able to promote titles.
According to the filing, the contributions made to Ethereum to participate in the ICO were made in the United States.
The file reads:
“[Users’] ETH contributions were validated by a network of nodes on the Ethereum blockchain, which are clustered more densely in the United States than in any other country.”
“As a result, those transactions took place in the United States.”
The crypto influencer responded to the news by taking to Twitter, where he announced he was excited to “take this fight public.”
“This frivolous SEC charge sets a bad precedent for the entire crypto industry,” he tweeted.
“If investing in a private sale with a discount is a crime, the entire crypto BV space is in trouble.”
“Turned down settlement so they have to prove themselves.”
Balina awarded the Sparkster token a 90% “Hall of Fame” ranking on its ICO investment spreadsheet.
According to the SEC filing, it also promoted it to users of a private Telegram group of about 50 people.
The company, founded in the Cayman Islands, is now defunct.
The SPRK ICO, which the SEC confirmed was not registered, took place between April and July 2018.
It raised about $ 30 million from nearly 4,000 investors in the United States and abroad.
Balina reportedly signed an agreement that he would invest $5 million in the Sparkster offering before promoting the tokens on YouTube, Telegram, and other social media platforms.
While the SEC claimed he accepted a 30% bonus from Sparkster on the tokens he purchased under the offer, Balina allegedly never disclosed his consideration for his promotion.
Today, the SEC announced that Sparkster and CEO Sajjad Daya have agreed to pay $35 million to affected investors.
Carolyn M. Welshhans, deputy director of enforcement for the SEC, said the settlement allowed them to return a significant amount of money to investors.
It also calls for additional measures to protect those investors, including disabling tokens to prevent future sales.
She also said the actions against Balina are protecting investors “by seeking to hold accountable an alleged crypto asset promoter for failures to follow the federal securities laws.”