Dec 2, 2018

Celebrities in trouble and other crypto news this week

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Ohio made headlines for becoming the first state to let its residents pay their taxes with Bitcoin, but that's not all the important industry news this week.

Catch up quick: The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission settled charges against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and DJ Khaled for promoting ICOs; a judge told the Securities and Exchange Commission it hasn't shown that an initial coin offering is a security offering; and Steemit laid off 70% of its staff, citing a crypto bear market.

SEC settles charges against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and DJ Khaled for promoting ICOs (SEC website)

  • Why it matters: This is the first action against celebrities for promoting ICOs without disclosing they were paid to do so. The move comes at a time when regulators and lawmakers are figuring out whether tokens are securities while celebrities are also facing increased scrutiny over disclosing when they're paid for promotions.

Judge to SEC: You haven't shown this ICO is a security offering (

  • Why it matters: The SEC's chairman has said that every one he's seen so far qualifies. However, a California federal judge has denied the SEC's request for a preliminary injunction against a company, arguing that it hasn't yet shown that the digital tokens it sold are securities. This is a reminder that regulators and the courts could see things differently, potentially creating more uncertainty for the industry.

Steemit lays off 70% of its staff, citing crypto bear market (CoinDesk)

  • Why it matters: Startups developing blockchain tech and digital tokens have to navigate the effects of the market on their finances and business model. But they also have to nail traditional startup basics like keeping costs low, something Steemit, which created a social media service that runs on blockchain technology, says it's going to focus on now.
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