Blockchain Banking Firm Bankera Probed By Lithuania's Central Bank Over 100M Euro ICO

February 21, 2018

The Bank of Lithuania, the country’s central bank, is probing a local initial coin offering (ICO) after determining that the token offered counts as a security.

The central bank said it had made contact with Bankera, a blockchain banking firm, regarding its ICO. According to Bankera’s official website, it is “building a digital bank to last for the blockchain era. As a traditional bank, Bankera’s services fit into three groups: payments, loans and deposits, and investments.” Its ICO already raised more than 100 million euros ($123M USD).

The Bank of Lithuania said the ICO, based on the information provided by Bankera’s business plan, is considered a public offer, and therefore must be executed in accordance with the established requirements. It added that the Bankera ICO falls within the scope of the law on securities.

The central bank suggested that more action can be taken against ICOs. The institution also warned individuals who are advertising token sales.

“The Bank of Lithuania also draws attention of other media to the requirements of legal acts regarding the dissemination and promotion of instruments possessing the features of securities, and recalls that the Law on Advertising prohibits the advertising of activities that violate the requirements of legal acts,” the central bank said.

Recent announcements and other actions by financial regulators around the world signal growing regulatory concern over the rapid growth of ICOs as a fundraising mechanism.

Earlier this month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) both said that ICOs are subject to securities regulation unless there are clear and compelling reasons not to.

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