This Article is Originally Posted on MintDice.com
Back in May 22, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint against Titanium Blockchain, an Israeli startup in the middle of its ICO at the time.
The SEC had determined that the firm had violated the commission’s registration and anti-fraud regulations in the process of raising funding from investors.
The company founder, Michael Stollaire was charged with securities fraud and stands accused of falsifying information.
WHAT IS TITANIUM BLOCKCHAIN?
Titanium Blockchain is a research, development and consulting company that offers full-scale blockchain development services to enterprises in several industries according to its official website.
They are focused on highlighting the benefits of blockchain technology such as speed and efficiency to corporations. This goal solidified by its claims of delivering deep insights to its clients, based on a wealth of experience within the field.
They follow a comprehensive roadmap which encompasses every stage of operation, from elaborate planning and product architecture to selecting the best technical solutions, product definition, outlining R&D processes and final execution.
Titanium Blockchain’s main services include consulting, private and public blockchain development as well as ICO services.
The Tel-Aviv based company made use of several blockchains such as Hyperledger, NEO, Ripple, Waves, Cardano, Quorum, AION, Wanchain, Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), and Ethereum-based decentralized applications among others.
Titanium In September 2018, Titanium blockchain announced that it officially became a technology partner of WLTH, a health blockchain platform which rewards users for achieving health goals. Some other significant partnerships included Gaby, a community management tool, Millentrix, a cryptocurrency management service and Verv, a smart home energy assistance that provides information on electricity usage, just to name a few.
WAS THE TITANIUM BLOCKCHAIN INFRASTRUCTURE A SCAM?
According to a statement by Robert Cohen, head of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit:
“This ICO was based on a social media marketing blitz that allegedly deceived investors with purely fictional claims of business prospects. Having filed multiple cases involving allegedly fraudulent ICOs, we again encourage investors to be especially cautious when considering these as investments.”
Titanium involved an inflation scheme which it to profit from its investors under the effects of a social media campaign, fake testimonials and false claims over corporate relationships.
These actions lead to high demand for their digital asset during their ICO stage. The company also employed incentives and created a sense of urgency leading to FOMO (fear of missing out) which encouraged investors to purchase their token.
The SEC is suing Titanium Blockchain for evading a valid offering exemption and registration. Also attached to the lawsuit is EHI Internetwork and Systems Management Inc., another company linked to Stollaire.
Assets of the Titanium ICO, some $21 million had an emergency asset freeze after the initial complaint by the SEC.
The SEC interested in protecting investor by retrieving funds and offering penalties. This interest solidified by the SEC wanting to ban Stollaire, Titanium Blockcahins founder from any further participation in future digital offerings and the firm receiving a preliminary injunction for the status of the firm to become a permanent receivership.
This isn’t the first time an ICO has been deemed fraudulent, Back in September 2017, Maksim Zaslavskiy was charged by the SEC for fraudulent activities related to REcoin and Diamond Reserve Coin ICOs which only existed on paper. Maksim conning investors out of $300,000 for a blockchain project where nerither a token was issued nor infrastucture operation per advertised.
An even more recent occurence is budding blockchain startup Centra which along with its three founders were accused f a similar case of misrepresentation after claiming strong ties to card network giants, Visa and Mastercard.
Firms such as Titanium Blockchain, while under the guise of building the blockchain industry, have inadvertently contributed to tearing it down. The strict initiative of cryptocurrency regulators should lead to a reduction in fraudulent projects such as The Titanium Blockchain.
ICO issuers should learn from these events and present a more truthful representation of their business model, promises, and operations in their whitepapers, press releases and any other documents that can be classed as marketing material.
Care will be taken by issuers when doing marketing, social media campaigns and the user of testimonials. Ultimately these issues should be common sense when it comes to using another companies name/brand/image.
Investors should continue to be careful when purchasing tokens from companies like Titanium Blockchain. They should do research of their own into prospective token investments and blockchain projects, every detail provided matters.
Blockchain Investment can be rewarding but investors should continue to learn from projects like Titanium Blockcian that research is very invaluable when it comes to blockchain investment.