SEC Sanctions BITCOIN Exchange Operator-A Case Study In Basic Registration And Exemption Requirements
ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100
On December 8, 2014, the SEC settled charges against a creative, but ill informed, entrepreneur for acting as an unlicensed broker-dealer and for violations of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Ethan Burnside and his company, BTC Trading Corp., operated two online enterprises, BTC Virtual Stock Exchange and LTC-Global Virtual Stock Exchange, that traded securities using virtual currencies, bitcoin or litecoin. Neither of these exchanges were registered as broker-dealers or stock exchanges. In addition, Burnside and his company conducted separate transactions in which he offered investors the opportunity to use virtual currencies to buy or sell shares in the LTC-Global exchange itself and a separate litecoin mining venture he owned and operated. These offerings were not registered with the SEC as required under the federal securities laws.