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Morning News: US ICOs Fall into Line, USD 18m Scam and 5,704 Victims

  • Report: American ICOs Now Abiding by Regulators Rules
  • Police Bust USD 18m Fake ICO that Ensnared 5,704 Victims
  • Competition For Crypto Payments Intensifies in Retail
  • S Korean President’s Approval Ratings Soar after Crypto U-Turn

Catch up on the most essential cryptocurrency and blockchain news stories breaking in Asia and the Americas while the rest of the world was asleep.

Report: American ICOs Now Abiding by Regulators Rules
Reuters reports that most Initial Coin Offering (ICO) fundraising efforts in the United States are falling into line with American securities laws to avoid sanctions from the country’s regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC has been investigating ICOs as part of a number of far-reaching probes into alleged crypto startup financial irregularities. Per Reuters, one crypto startup said it had adopted chosen securities law-abiding structures so as “not to go to jail.” The newswire service also claimed that many overseas ICO developers were refusing to accept investments from American citizens to avoid potential SEC sanctions.

S Korean Police Bust USD 18m Fake ICO that Ensnared 5,704 Victims
South Korean news outlet Kukmin Ilbo reports that police have busted a fake ICO scam that stung 5,704 investors out of a total of USD 18 million. The scam was run by a company that claimed people could expect massive returns of up to 1,000% on their investments, per claims on its website. Suspicions arose after investigators noticed that the company continued to claim its coin’s value was rising at times when other altcoins were experiencing sharp declines. Further research found that a patent that the company claimed to have lodged with the government did not actually exist. The company had held large-scale investment seminars in Seoul, Daejeon and Jeonju, and drew in investors mainly aged between 50 and 70 as part of what appears to have been a multi-level pyramid scheme.

Competition For Crypto Payments Intensifies in Retail
Competition is intensifying among Japanese electronics retailers who accept bitcoin and altcoin payments. With BIC Camera recently announcing it will be going ahead with a plan to enable bitcoin payment at all of its stores, one of its rivals has begun on a novel promotion in conjunction with the developers of the Monacoin cryptocurrency. Arc PC, a computer vendor that specializes in gaming hardware and accepts in-store payment in both Bitcoin and Monacoin, has begun offering limited-edition gifts to customers paying in Monacoin. Per media outlet Nico Video, Arc PC is now offering first-come-first-serve snowboard-shaped key rings embossed with exclusive artwork featuring MonaComi characters. MonaComi is a hugely popular Monacoin-themed manga comic – and the key rings represent highly prized collectors’ items for Japan’s many manga fans. The move marks the first time a major Japanese high street store has joined forces with a cryptocurrency developer for a marketing campaign of this nature.

S Korean President’s Approval Ratings Soar after Crypto U-Turn
South Korean president Moon Jae-in’s popularity ratings have surged in the wake of his government’s decision to put the brakes on a proposed crypto-crackdown. Moon‘s government had seemed on the verge of a full, China-style clampdown, and banned both ICOs and anonymous trading, widely cited as the main reason for a 10% dip in approval ratings in late January. However, the government has since backed away from its original plans, with some suggesting that the ICO ban could even be reversed. The news has helped Moon’s ratings recover to 70%, just one point lower than his pre-“crypto crisis” high of 71%. The president’s ratings among voters aged 20-39, the social group most upset by talk of a crypto-crackdown, have risen to 72%.

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