The Securities Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Ian Balina, a well-known Youtuber and Crypto influencer on Monday, September 19th, In relation to an unregistered initial coin offering from 2018. The SEC filed a number of ICO-related lawsuits after the 2017 DAO report was published, and this one is just the most recent.
The accusations revolve around Sparkster’s initial coin offering (ICO), which was marketed as a “no-code” development platform. Participant contributions to the ICO, which concluded in July 2018, amounted to $30 million.
SEC claims against the self-described influencer
The SEC claims in the lawsuit that Balina failed to disclose to investors that he received payment from the issuer while promoting SPRK tokens in 2018. Additionally, according to the case, he was unable to file a registration statement with the commission for the tokens that he resold utilizing an investing pool that he established.
“For his offering and sale of SPRK tokens, Balina did not submit a registration statement to the Commission, therefore no registration exemption applied. Balina, therefore, ran his own unregistered SPRK Token offering.”
Balina reportedly consented to contribute about $5 million to the Sparkster offering and advertise the offered SPRK tokens on Telegram, YouTube, and other social media channels.
The commission claims that although Balina’s deal included a 30% bonus from Sparkster on the tokens he bought in the Sparkster sale, he never made public the commission he earned for his marketing.
The commission is asking that Balina and any of his affiliated companies be prohibited from participating in any future promotions or sales involving securities, as well as ordered to pay civil penalties and forfeit any “ill-gotten gains.”
In 2019, Balina posted a Twitter thread where he described his behavior in relation to the ICO and acknowledged his fault.
Although the SEC lawsuit against Balina has some interesting elements, it is undoubtedly a part of the frequently observed SEC actions against unregistered ICOs that have also targeted other well-known brands in the crypto industry, such as Binance.