Do Kwon, a South Korean blockchain entrepreneur and co-founder of the Terra blockchain platform, has been accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of conducting an illegal securities offering and misappropriating funds.
Dodgy ICO and Stolen Investor Funds
According to court documents filed by the SEC, Kwon raised millions of dollars in a 2018 initial coin offering (ICO) for the Terra platform, which promised to offer a stablecoin backed by a basket of currencies. The SEC alleges that Kwon misrepresented the status of the platform’s development and misled investors about the nature of the investment.
Furthermore, the SEC alleges that Kwon misappropriated investor funds and used them to purchase over 10,000 bitcoins through a Swiss bank. Kwon is currently a fugitive and is believed to be residing outside the United States.
The allegations against Kwon highlight the regulatory risks associated with the cryptocurrency industry, particularly with regards to ICOs. The SEC has taken a tough stance on ICOs in recent years, arguing that many of them are unregistered securities offerings and therefore subject to federal securities laws.
Kwon’s Response and the Challenge Ahead
In response to the SEC’s allegations, Kwon’s lawyers have argued that the Terra platform was a legitimate project that was “built to last,” and that Kwon had no intention of defrauding investors. However, the allegations of misappropriation of funds and use of investor funds to purchase bitcoins may be harder to refute.
The case also underscores the challenges that regulators face in enforcing securities laws in the global cryptocurrency industry, particularly when dealing with individuals who reside outside the jurisdiction of U.S. authorities. As the crypto industry continues to grow, it is likely that we will see more cases like this, where regulators struggle to keep up with the pace of technological innovation and international borders.
In addition, the use of cryptocurrencies, which can provide a high degree of anonymity, can make it challenging for regulators to trace transactions and identify the parties involved in those transactions. In this case, the SEC alleges that Kwon misappropriated investor funds and used them to purchase over 10,000 bitcoins through a Swiss bank, making it difficult for the SEC to trace and recover those funds.
Furthermore, the SEC has been taking a tough stance on ICOs in recent years, arguing that many of them are unregistered securities offerings and therefore subject to federal securities laws. However, as the cryptocurrency industry continues to evolve and new blockchain projects are launched, it can be challenging for regulators to assess the legitimacy of these projects and ensure that they comply with securities laws and other regulations.
The SEC’s allegations against Do Kwon highlight the regulatory risks associated with the cryptocurrency industry and serve as a reminder to investors to exercise caution when investing in new and emerging blockchain projects. While the potential rewards of investing in the cryptocurrency industry are significant, so too are the risks, and investors should always conduct thorough due diligence before committing their funds to any project.
This Article first appeared on Bloomberg.com
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.