The United States Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a lawsuit against cryptocurrency influencer and entrepreneur Ian Ballina over an initial coin offering (ICO) that dates back to 2018. The SEC accused Ballina of purchasing $5 million worth of SPRK tokens from Sparkster Ltd. and receiving a 30% token bonus before he started promoting it. He did not disclose that he was incentivized to promote the ICO. The SEC filed the lawsuit in federal court in Austin, Texas.

Between 2018 and 2019, Sparkster Ltd and its CEO Sajjad Daya was in the news for raising $30 million in ETH for the SPRK tokens and not launching it. Interestingly, one of the Sparkster wallets from 2018 was activated for in May 2022, and swapped 14,200 ETH tokens for $22.7 million USDC. According to the SEC, Sparkster Ltd. raised $30 million in an unregistered ICO from 4,000 investors between April and July 2018. The company and its CEO have agreed to pay $35 million in settlements to resolve investors claims of losses due to the unregistered SPRK offering.

The SEC has been trailing unregistered ICOs that cheated investors during the ICO boom between 2017 and 2018. Last year, the SEC hunted three Rivetz Group companies and Rivetz CEO – Steven K. Sprague – for conducting an unregistered ICO that raised $18 million. The SEC stated that the defendants offered and sold digital assets called RvT tokens to the public between July and September 2017. In February, it charged three people for allegedly defrauding over $11 million through an ICO in 2018. Famous American actor and martial artist Steven Seagal promoted this project.

The 33-year-old Ian Ballina describes himself as a “World Renowned Investor, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Author” on his website and claims to have a master’s degree in computer science although he hasn’t stated where from. He has also worked as a data scientist with IBM Watson. Ballina is the founder and CEO of Token Metrics, a data analytics platform for cryptocurrencies that helps investors use machine learning to become smarter investors.

In 2017, Ballina used his Token Metrics analytics tool for cryptocurrency investments that saw his $20,000 seed swell into a $5-million portfolio of cryptocurrency assets, as he states on his site. His website also carries his response to the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he refutes all their charges as baseless. On his website, he also callshis investment in SPRK “a private pre-sale purchase” and a 30% bonus as a “volume-based discount from the public sale price”

Featured Image Source:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha Plus loading...