A blockchain healthcare company has settled charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over an allegedly unregistered ICO that raised $6.3 million, according to a statement on Monday from the SEC.
The New England-based SimplyVital Health, Inc. aimed to create a “healthcare-related blockchain ecosystem,” publicly announcing plans to build its platform through the sale of its Health Cash (HLTH) token in 2017, according to the SEC’s charges. The Commission alleges that the company raised more than $6 million through a pre-sale of its token, offered through a simple agreement for future tokens (SAFT) scheme.
SimplyVital, while neither admitting nor denying the SEC’s charges, has agreed to comply with the Commission’s cease and desist order and faces no further penalty, having already returned to investors “substantially all of the funds raised during its pre-sale” earlier this year, the SEC’s statement indicated.
Notably, while SimplyVital made use of the SAFT arrangement that stipulated tokens would not be dispersed to investors until SimplyVital created its platform, once thought to be a regulatory-friendly approach to distributing tokens, the SEC alleges that the blockchain healthcare company “did not file a registration statement with the Commission or qualify for an exemption from registration before offering and selling HLTH to the public through the SAFTs.”
The SEC’s chargers against and subsequent settlement with SimplyVital follows a consistent pattern of enforcement that the Commission has laid out over the last two years. Since releasing its its July 2017 “DAO Report of Investigation,” which introduced the cryptocurrency industry to the “Howey Test,” the SEC has methodically picked off one ICO after another over the unregistered sale of securities.
In public statements, Chairman Jay Clayton has intimated that the SEC believes virtually every ICO ever conducted in the United States has violated federal securities laws.