Over the last two months, the Texas State Securities Board (“Securities Board”) has published four emergency cease and desist orders alleging violations of the Texas Securities Act involving the offer and sale of cryptocurrencies. The fact that the Securities Board has issued four orders pertaining to cryptocurrencies shows that the Securities Board intends to make regulation of cryptocurrencies a priority. It is also expected that Texas could “take the lead” in regards to state regulation of cryptocurrencies. This follows last year’s announcement by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it intends to make the regulation of cryptocurrencies a priority this year in light of the fact that the cryptocurrency market has been growing over the years.
The Securities Board issued its first order involving cryptocurrencies on December 20, 2017 against a foreign firm called USI-Tech Limited. According to the order, USI-Tech Limited and its agents offered Texas investors investments “in a series of Bitcoin mining contracts.” The order alleged that these offers violated the Texas Securities Act because the investments, which were determined to be securities, were not registered in Texas. USI-Tech Limited’s agents also allegedly were not registered as Texas dealers or agents, and no applicable exceptions applied. The order also alleged that USI-Tech Limited and its agents made material misrepresentations and omissions concerning the offers. Continue reading