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Startup Battle – Where Startups and Investors Meet

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Startup Battle - Where Startups and Investors Meet

Blockchain & AI Eventon has announced a stellar show for 2019. The highly awaited show is expected to follow the grand success of the December summit in 2018, which brought Evan Singh Luthra, Ashley Turing, Giacomo Arcaro and Jaspreet Bindra to Mumbai and took the scene by storm even in times of a disturbing bear market. Blockchain & AI Eventon is announcing a Startup battle to take place at their upcoming summit in December 2019.

The inaugural edition of the startup Battle throws 15 of the most promising Crypto, Blockchain and AI projects into the ring to fight it out for an invaluable opportunity to pitch live on stage to a panel of savvy investors. The pitch is followed by a Q&A session from the official jury members, investors and the audience. Judging results will be based on the credibility of the company’s White Paper and invest-ability, with an importance placed on the business model and scalability.

Successful applicants can take advantage of several treats, such as VIP invitations to premium networking events in Mumbai and 10 complimentary tickets to the conference.

Winners will benefit from solid PR exposure across the Blockchain & AI Eventon’s media platforms, including video, email newsletters, website and magazines. The winning team will also receive a price of 20,000 dollars.

Applications are now open with just 12 spaces still available. Companies looking to put their names in the running should move quickly to secure their spot.

For more information about how you can get involved, please contact Nivas Naik at media@teflas.com

 

Regulation

XRP Ripple Lawsuit re-filed, but not as a Security?

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Ripple XRP Lawsuit

This week, news broke that an amended complaint against Ripple has been filed by XRP investors. This news is the latest development in a two-year class-action lawsuit brought against the firm. Interestingly, investors chose to amend this lawsuit in order to add protections in the case that XRP doesn’t fall under securities regulations.

Importantly, the amended suit includes former XRP investor Bradley Sostack as the lead plaintiff. In this go-around, the plaintiffs brought additional claims against Ripple and its CEO, Brad Garlinghouse for violation of California business law. The report alleges the company blurred the differences between its enterprise solutions and XRP to further drive demand in the market.

Hedge Your Bets

Originally, the lawsuit alleged that Ripple raised millions of dollars through the unregistered sales of XRP to US retail investors. Now, according to a court document filed on March 25, investors decided to attempt another approach. Perhaps, fearing that XRP could escape securities regulations, the new suit goes after the firm for violations of California business laws.

To this extent, the sixth claim for relief states that the firm participated in false advertising, while a seventh claim, further accuses the firm of unfair competition in violation of California regulations. Also, the claim states that Ripple reportedly limited the supply of XRP to drive price appreciation.

Garlinghouse Under Fire

Specifically, the allegations claim that Garlinghouse made numerous conflicting claims to investors. In multiple instances, he stated that he was holding XRP for long-term gains. However, researchers pointed out that these statements were false. Throughout 2017, Garlinghouse sold millions of XRP via cryptocurrency exchanges. In fact, a review of the XRP ledger indicates that Garlinghouse sold over 67 million XRP in 2017 alone. Additionally, on multiple occasions, he dumped his XRP within days of receiving it from Ripple.

XRP Ripple Lawsuit

XRP Ripple Lawsuit

SEC vs Ripple XRP

The lawsuit cites statements made from Ripple about XRP being a utility token essential for international payments. Additionally, the firm and CEO made statements in which they described the cryptocurrency sales are primarily to market makers. This last point could prove to be a major problem for Ripple as 60 percent of XRP is owned by Ripple, and until now, only saw use solely for fundraising efforts.

The Ripple XRP Saga

The XRP securities saga started when a group of disgruntled investors lodged a complaint with the SEC back in 2018. Since that time, the case has seen numerous amendments as both Ripple and the plaintiffs adjusted their strategies. Ripple hoped to get the case dismissed early on,  but U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in the Northern District of California ordered in February the suit could proceed to trial.

While the news did seem bleak for Ripple, at that time, Judge Hamilton also stated that the company did not violate California state law. Consequently, both the false advertising and personal liability against Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse were dropped in that instance.

Now, Ripple worries that the plaintiffs will utilize unlimited amendments to falter the XRP market. Given the new legal approach that the plaintiffs have taken to towards the company, there may be some validity to their concerns.

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Regulation

BSTX Experiences Proposal Delay, as SEC Seeks Further Commentary

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Postponed

The SEC has recently released an update on a proposal put forth in 2019 by the, yet-to-launch, Boston Security Token Exchange (BSTX).  Despite being considered since last May, the proposal has been postponed.  The purpose of this delay is to allow for public commentary.

Final Decision

This move, delaying the final decision, comes after months of deliberation on the proposal put forth by the BTSX.  From the time of the initial filing, we have covered developments surrounding the BSTX on multiple occasions.  The following articles shed light on this timeline, and what the BSTX is trying to achieve.

Boston Security Token Exchange (BTSX) Seeks SEC Rule Change

SEC Seeks Input on ‘Boston Securities Token Exchange (BSTX)’ Proposal

Changes Proposed

While not all-encompassing, the following are a few of the key points put forth by the BSTX in their proposal for change.

  • Asset ownership recorded using a private blockchain
  • Trading enabled through use of BSTX tokens
  • Whitelisted Clients

Commentary

In their most recent extension, the SEC noted that it was done in hopes that the public would come forth, and share their stances towards the proposal.  They stated,

“The Commission requests that interested persons provide written submissions of their views, data, and arguments with respect to the issues identified above, as well as any other concerns they may have with the proposal.”

Expressing Trepidation

Presumably, what prompted this delay is multiple responses received during the first commentary period.  While there were only two received, each expressed trepidation towards what the BSTX is trying to achieve.

Of the two responses received, thus far, one was received by a representative of Nasdaq.  It is stated,

“Nasdaq respectfully submits that the BOX proposal may place an unreasonable burden on competition because the blockchain (ledger) technology used to track ownership of the security token—the only aspect of this instrument that is unique—would not have a common distributed ledger. Rather, the distributed ledger would be exclusively available on BOX, thereby placing other exchanges at a competitive disadvantage that cannot be remedied by replicating the blockchain offering. Furthermore, the proposal appears to provide insufficient detail regarding: (1) digital securities infrastructure and technology pairing with the existing equities market infrastructure, and (2) its impact on the anti-fraud and customer protection provisions of the Act, as well as possible investor confusion. Nasdaq recommends that BOX submit additional detail addressing these concerns before the proposal is approved.”

Simply put, they break down their issues into two main points:

  • ‘The Proposal places an unreasonable burden on competition’
  • ‘The Proposal provides insufficient information to assess compliance with the Act or the costs to market participants.’

The commentary, put forth by Nasdaq, closes with a request for more information, stating,

“For the reasons described above, Nasdaq believes that BOX has provided insufficient information concerning the proposal’s impact on competition, how it complies with other aspects of the Exchange Act and Anti-Money Laundering statutes, and how BOX intends to avoid investor confusion. Nasdaq recommends that BOX submit additional detail addressing these concerns before the proposal is approved.”

Boston Security Token Exchange (BSTX)

Founded in 2018, the BSTX is a joint venture between BOX Digital, and tZERO.  The goal of the BSTX is to establish a regulated and full-fledged exchange, which offers support for digital securities.

CEO, Lisa Fall, currently oversees company operations.

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SEC Levies Various Charges Against ‘Teshuater’

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Halt!

The SEC has recently laid charges on yet another fraudulent company, which robbed investors of funds through a variety of means.

The charges laid are against a group of entities, which include:

  • Teshua Business Group
  • Teshuater
  • Larry Leonard
  • Shuwana Leonard

It is believed that the couple, Larry and wife Shuwana, used his standing as a former Texas Pastor, to prey specifically on the African-American community.

Alkaline Water

Over the past few years, and most prominently during the 2017 ICO boom, we have seen various projects touting their unique nature.  While everything from maple syrup, to lost treasure, has been touted as value backing for coins, one of the more ridiculous is Alkaline Water.

It is this Alkaline Water, which much of the fraud to have taken place, was based upon.  The Leonards’ touted their Alkaline Water company as being the first of its kind to be ‘black owned’.  They then attempted to raise money by selling stock, selling non-existent ‘TeshuaCoins’ purportedly backed by their reserve of water, and under the guise of a yet-to-be established BTC mining outfit.

Even if this entire endeavour was legitimate in their efforts to raise money, the underlying product is basically snake oil; A product with no proven benefits was being peddled as an asset of value.

Big Money

Over the course of their journey, preying on unsuspecting investors, money was stolen through various means.

There were three main streams of income for the couple behind TeshuaCoin.

  • Capital generation through an ICO
    • $170,395.20 was raised out of a $20 million goal
  • Selling fake equity within Teshuater
    • Nearly $291,044.07 was raised through the issuance of fraudulent ‘stock certificates’
  • Investments for establishing a mining pool
    • $25,544.96 was stolen, with zero effort to establish said pool

Charges Laid

Naturally, as the fraud committed was not done so in a singular manner, there are various charges being laid against the couple and their group of companies.

These charges revolve around each of the aforementioned three ways that they decided to defraud investors.  Per their filing, SEC is seeking the following:

  1. Permanent injunctive relief
  2. Disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgement interest thereon
  3. Civil penalties
  4. Equitable and ancillary relief to which the Court determines the Commission is entitled

Commentary

In their filing, the SEC summarizes the result of efforts made by Larry Leonard, Shuwana Leonard, and their companies, to defraud investors.

“Since at least 2017, Larry Leonard, individually and through Teshuater and TBG, along with his wife, Shuwana Leonard, targeted investors in the African-American community by promising oversized returns on various investments related to Teshuater, a business that bottled and distributed alkaline water. During the course of this scheme, Defendants raised nearly $500,000 from over 500 investors through materially false and misleading statements and omissions and other deceptive conduct.”

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