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SEC halts high-profile Telegram digital tokens

Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained a court order to temporarily halt the distribution of digital tokens sold by messaging app Telegram for failing to register as a sale of securities.

Why it matters: This is the most high-profile "initial coin offering" (ICO) in which the SEC has intervened. The ICO attracted buyers that included top Silicon Valley VCs and cryptocurrency investors (the commission found that it sold 1 billion tokens to 39 U.S. purchasers).