SEC Cyber Unit Files Charges Against Allegedly Fraudulent ICO

As the prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies march relentlessly upward, regulators have been taking notice. The SEC recently filed a civil enforcement complaint against Quebec resident Dominic Lacroix, his company PlexCorps and his partner, Sabrina Paradis-Royer, in connection with an initial coin offering (ICO) of “PlexCoins,” which are based on the Ethereum platform. This article details the events giving rise to the action and the SEC’s specific allegations, with insights from Matthew Rossi, Mayer Brown partner and former Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. With charges that allege misconduct in connection with the ICO and blockchain technology, as well as misconduct regarding the use of social media, hacking and other cybersecurity issues, this case shows managers the priorities and areas of focus of the SEC’s new Cyber Unit. For more on cryptocurrency, see “How Blockchain Will Continue to Revolutionize the Private Funds Sector in 2018” (Jan. 4, 2018); and “Opportunities and Challenges Posed by Three Asset Classes on the Frontier of Alternative Investing: Blockchain, Cannabis and Litigation Finance” (Dec. 14, 2017). For additional commentary from Rossi, see “Private Equity FCPA Enforcement: High Risk or Hype?” (Feb. 19, 2015).

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