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Gladius Fails to Pay SEC Fines

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Gladius Dissolves

The blockchain-based cybersecurity firm, Gladius announced that the company dissolved this week. Unfortunately for Gladius token holders, the company chose to ignore the $12.7 million settlement payment the SEC imposed earlier in the year. Now, Gladius token holders are left holding the bag.

In what seems to be a growing trend, another SEC charged ICO dissolved before repaying investors.  In this instance, Gladius received $12.7 in fines after self-reporting to the SEC in February. Understandably, the SEC showed some leniency towards the firm for their decision to self-report.

A Lenient Approach

As part of the SEC settlement, regulators didn’t impose any additional penalties on the firm. However, they did make the company executives agree to compensate investors fully. Also, the company was to register the tokens as securities. Gladius agreed to the terms but asked for multiple extensions on the repayment date. Rather than repaying investors, the company chose to dissolve.

Gladius Founder Max Niebylski

Gladius Founder Max Niebylski

News of the Dissolution

Investors first received the bad news via a November 22 telegram post. In the post, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Alex Godwin described the decision. He explained that  the firm “ceased operations effective immediately.” He also stated that the firm “no longer has funds to continue operations.”

Rektiers

As you could imagine, investors are furious over the turn of events. Investors feel as if the SEC’s approach lacked enforcement. Investors have even formed a Telegram chat group called the Gladius Rektiers to organize another strategy to reclaim lost funds.

Gladius

Gladius entered the market in April 2017. The firm planned to utilize a combination of blockchain-based technologies to protect users. Specifically, the firm employed decentralized CDN and DDoS protection on the Ethereum Blockchain. Additionally, Gladius platform users could rent out unused bandwidth and computational power.

Gladius Website

Gladius Website

Interestingly, Gladius executives did decide to leave their open-source code available on GitHub. The team even welcomed developers to further their protocol on their now deceased website’s homepage.

Dipping on the Bill

While the Gladius dissolution is bad news, it joins a host of other SEC charged ICOs who skipped out on their deadlines. For example, AirFox missed an October deadline this year. Airfox entered the market as a mobile banking solution before the SEC charged the firm with selling unregistered securities.

Additionally, Paragon Coin missed its investor repayment deadline. As part of Paragon Coin’s SEC settlement, the company agreed to offer to repay investors and pay $250,000 in fines.  For their cooperation, the SEC withheld fraud charges. Also, the company agreed to register their tokens as securities and adhere to all relevant regulations moving forward.

The Paragon Coin saga received premier coverage as it involved a well-known beauty pageant winner and the rapper – The Game. Currently, the Paragon Coin website tells investors that want a refund to submit before November. Notably, their SEC repayment settlement date already pasted back in July.

The Gladius Saga Continues

The decision to dissolve prior to adhering to the SEC’s demands could prove to be a costly one for Gladius. For now, investors are culminating their outrage to organize their next maneuver. Many expect to see additional charges in some shape or form against the company’s owners as regulators decide how to handle the news and investor outcry.

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David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including Bitcoinlightning.com

Regulation

Bank of China Moves to Regulate STO

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Bank of China to Create STO Regulations

This month, executives from the bank of China unveiled some major announcements regarding the future of blockchain technology in the country. Apparently, the Bank of China will now create its own centralized cryptocurrency. Additionally, the bank intends to roll out a robust security token protocol in the coming weeks.

In the past, Chinese officials have been very critical of cryptocurrencies. The country famously banned exchanges back in 2017. Also, Chinese officials have been hard on miners in the country despite the fact that the Chinese government operates some of the largest mining facilities in the world.

Pivot Towards Blockchain – Bank of China

Now it appears as if Chinese officials got the memo that blockchain technology is here to stay. At the recent Finance Technology Summit in Beijing, the Chief Scientist of the Bank of China, Weimin Guo described the country’s new strategy moving forward.

Chief Scientist of the Bank of China - Weimin Guo

Chief Scientist of the Bank of China – Weimin Guo

National Digital Currency

China now intends to release its own cryptocurrency called China’s Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). This cryptocurrency will serve as the only national digital currency of the country. Interestingly, the token will be a stablecoin pegged to the Chinese RenMinBi (RMB).

Developers hope that the integration of blockchain and cryptographic technology will streamline the outdated financial practices currently in use. Blockchain tech brings some serious advantages to the table. For one, the tech eliminates the frictions seen in traditional payment systems.

Shade on Bitcoin

After acknowledging the huge benefits gained from blockchain technology, Guo stated that Bitcoin had failed its purpose to provide a safe haven from the traditional market manipulations. He stated that Bitcoin’s launch was poorly timed and its primary goal to disrupt the global economy was “impossible.”

Strict Regulations – Bank of China

While China loosens its blockchain leash, it’s obvious the country wants to keep the technology in check. For example, all STOs are to operate within a strict “regulatory sandbox mechanism” at first. Basically, the country wants to promote innovation with new technology but desires a measured integration to maintain complete control over the sector.

It’s no surprise that China feels the pressure from blockchain adoption. At one time, China controlled a large majority of the crypto market. Since that time, the country continually targeted crypto investors and traders.

Additionally, regulators expressed concern about major tech firms such as Facebook issuing a cryptocurrency. Not surprisingly, regulators only want currency creation to originate from a national bank or government agency.

China’s Big Hope

Chinese regulators now believe that the DCEP has the potential to evolve into a leading global currency. Bank officials seek to integrate the currency into the main economy as soon as possible. This integration will span the scope of the Chinese economic sector from retail all the way to major investment firms.

China Inches Back into the Game

It’s interesting to see how Chinese regulators continue to embrace blockchain technology. China has always been on edge over the emergence of cryptocurrencies, but as it stands today, the country has to embrace the technology or fall to the wayside against the growing competition.

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VNX Exchange Hopes to Get in Front of Upcoming AMLD5 Legislation with Sumsub Collaboration

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VNX Exchange Hopes to Get in Front of Upcoming AMLD5 Legislation with Sumsub Collaboration

Tech Provider

Recently launched platform, VNX Exchange, and compliance expert, Sumsub, have announced a new collaboration. This will see Sumsub provide the necessary technology, which will allow VNX Exchange to ensure compliance with European laws surrounding AML/KYC.

This move is a proactive one, being taken by VNX Exchange. They have indicated that they chose to collaborate with Sumsub, as they possess the ability to remain compliant with the upcoming AMLD5 European legislation.

AML/KYC Importance

Anti-Money-Laundering and Know-Your-Client are important compliance mechanisms used world-over. While their implementation may vary depending on regions, the purpose of each remain the same.

These compliance measures are what allow for regulatory bodies to keep nefarious activity in check. This is done by, first, knowing who they are dealing with. This part is taken care of through KYC checks, which gather information such as legal names, place of residence, passport info, and etcetera. Next, AML puts roadblocks in place, designed to prevent the origins of money from being clouded.

Unfortunately, blockchain based endeavours (including digital securities), remain synonymous with nefarious activity, to date. Much of this stems from past markets that saw the ICOs boom and bust. The entire point of digital securities, however, is to offer the benefits of tokenization, through a regulatory compliant and legal manner. For this to be achieved, and to dispel pre-existing notions (warranted or not) surrounding blockchain based endeavours, AML and KYC remain of utmost importance.

Rival Providers

As indicated above, compliance measures surrounding AML and KYC are of the utmost importance within the digital securities sector. Many companies have recognized this, and are in the midst of developing their own solutions for the issue at hand. The following companies are but a few of those leading the way.

Commentary

Upon announcing their collaboration, representatives from each, Sumsub and VNX Exchange, took the time to comment. The following is what each had to say on the matter.

Alexander Tkachenko, CEO of VNX Exchange, stated,

“VNX Exchange is very serious about all aspects related to compliance and investor protection. For these purposes, we are leveraging the benefits and advantages of innovative compliance systems provided by Sumsub to create a seamless client experience and open access to the new class of liquid digital assets backed by venture capital investments.”

Jacob Sever, Cofounder of Sumsub, stated,

“AMLD5 is soon to gain full power and influence among all financial entities in Europe with reinforced AML demands. With many clients based in Luxemburg, such as JobToday, Wecan Group, etc., we see the demand for compliance and anti-fraud measures, and know how to ensure them. VNX is a serious and mature project, with founders and management from traditional well-respected foundations, so we are happy to provide them with a high-level solution, optimising compliance under the Luxembourg regulations.”

Sumsub

Founded in 2015, Sumsub is a tech provider operating out of London, U.K. Above all, services offered by Sumsub revolve around compliance. This includes KYC/AML, investor onboarding, and more.

CEO, Andrey Severyukhin, currently oversees company operations.

VNX Exchange

Founded in 2018, VNX Exchange operates out of Luxembourg. The team at VNX Exchange has recently announced the launch of their digital securities issuance platform, along with their inaugural STO.

CEO, Alexander Tkachenko, currently oversees company operations.

In Other News

Both, VNX Exchange and Sumsub, have found themselves in our headlines in the past. Now their past work has brought them together, as they work with one another moving forward. The following articles touch on past events pertaining to each company.

VNX Exchange Launches, Calling Luxembourg Home

Sum&Substance Introduced to Polymath ‘Service Provider Marketplace’

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UKJT Views Digital Assets as Property Under Current Regulations

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UKJT Views Digital Assets as Property Under Current Regulations

Digital Assets as Property

In a recently released, thorough report, it has been divulged by the UK Jurisdiction TaskForce (UKJT), that digital assets are satisfactorily covered under existing securities laws. More specifically, digital assets are typically viewed as property.

This is an important decision, as it provides industry participants with a much needed legal clarity regarding digital assets, moving forward. With many placing high expectations on the burgeoning digital securities sector, a clear government perspective is a boon towards the structuring of future endeavours.

Key Points

While the document goes into much greater detail, the taskforce was able to summarize their decisions into a few brief points. The following is an excerpt from the document, showing their conclusions.

‘Whether English law would treat a particular cryptoasset as property ultimately depends on the nature of the asset, the rules of the system in which it exists, and purpose for which the question is asked. However:

(a) cryptoassets have all of the indicia of property;

(b) the novel or distinctive features possessed by some cryptoassets—intangibility, cryptographic authentication, use of a distributed transaction ledger, decentralisation, rule by consensus—do not disqualify them from being property; 22 Legal statement on cryptoassets and smart contracts

(c) nor are cryptoassets disqualified from being property as pure information, or because they might not be classifiable either as things in possession or things in action;

(d) cryptoassets are therefore to be treated in principle as property;

(e) but a private key is not in itself to be treated as property because it is information.’

 

*For those interested in reading the entirety of the announcement, click HERE.*

A Differing Approach

The process, which culminated in the decision to treat digital assets as property, took roughly 6 months. Over this time, government representatives indicate(d?) that the taskforce took a different approach than most.

Sir Geoffrey Vos, The Chancellor of the High Court of England, indicated that the approach taken was to look for a way to regulate digital assets within the confines of the current system. This is in contrast to other nations which have looked to create new regulations for a nascent asset class, in what he likens to ‘working backwards’.

UK Jurisdiction TaskForce (UKJT)

The UK relies on multiple ‘taskforces’ which strive to pave the way for the digitization of the legal services sector. The UK Jurisdiction TaskForce (UKJT), is one of these groups.

In the report, it is indicated that the UKJT is comprised of 8 individuals from varying levels of government within the UK. The members are as follows.

  • Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court of England
  • Sir Nicholas Green, Chair of Law Commission of England and Wales
  • Mary Kyle, City of London Corporation
  • Christopher Woolard, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Lawrenece Akka QC, Twenty Essex
  • Richard Hay, Linklaters LLP
  • Peter Hunn, Accord Project
  • Sir Antony Zacaroli, Justice of the High Court

Commentary

Being located in the UK, Smartlands is directly affected by the decision on the UKJT discussed here today. Reaching out to securities.io, Smartlands CMO, Yaroslava Tkalich, had to following to say on the announcement.

“As the first-ever UK-based platform specialising in tokenising the real economy assets on the Stellar blockchain, Smartlands enjoys substantial footing on the issue; with the clarification by a panel of judges and legal specialists, our almost two-year headstart turns into a major strategic advantage for years to come.”

Speaking with Arnoldas

While Ilia Obraztsov is now the CEO of Smartlands, we were fortunate to have interviewed Arnoldas Nauseda in recent months, while he held this position. Arnoldas has since transitioned into the role of Chairman, as this will allow for a greater focus on strategic expansion.

Interview Series – Arnoldas Nauseda

In Other News

As stated above, there are various approaches being taken by nations around the world, towards digital assets. The following articles take a deeper look at two, in particular, with regards to their stances – Malta, and the United States.

Firsthand Overview of Digital Legislation in Malta

Multiple States have Begun to Provide Regulatory Clarity in 2019

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