ICO Connected to George Popescu Settles With SEC, Must Return Millions to Investors

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Magic LampA Boston based startup that raised $15 million in funds via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) must return the money to investors and pay a $250,000 fine, the SEC announced. AirFox, who must make those payments in accordance with an SEC settlement, introduced a plan in 2017 to provide free data to mobile phone users in return for eyeballing advertising. Because of his prowess in the ICO community, George Popescu, the owner of Lending Times and CEO of Lampix, was listed as an official advisor of AirFox prior to the ICO and up through August 2018. The SEC was careful to note that they had not accused AirFox of fraud, but rather of failing to register their tokens as securities.

Since the ICO, the value of AIR tokens have dropped by 94%.

That percentage drop is nearly identical to the loss that Lampix investors have experienced since the company’s ICO concluded on August 19, 2017. Through that, George Popescu raised $14.2 million from the sale of digital tokens he created out of thin air with the help of an ethereum smart contract. To date, no SEC actions have been brought against Popescu or Lampix. In an email interview with deBanked last year, Popescu was adamant about Lampix (PIX) tokens not being securities. “What people do with the tokens is their choice and we cannot prevent them,” he asserted.

PIX tokens can be traded on several cryptocurrency token trading sites like Etherdelta.com, a site that coincidentally consented to an SEC order last week for running an unregistered securities exchange. As part of the settlement, Etherdelta’s owner agreed to pay $300,000 in disgorgement plus $13,000 in prejudgment interest and a $75,000 penalty.

Today, Lampix touts partnerships with companies such as BMW and Bloomberg on its website, a far cry from the dozens of major companies it listed on its website when it was soliciting investors to its ICO. Prior to the ICO, a Lampix infographic touted names like Amazon, Apple, Samsung, IBM, Intel, Sony and more. When a sample of relationships could not be verified, Popescu conceded to deBanked last year that the infographic of household names only indicated that emails had been exchanged with someone at those companies, not that actual partnerships had been made.

Ironically, coinciding with Lampix’s rapid valuation descent, Popescu self-published a book on Amazon, titled How to Build a $1 Million Business from Scratch.

Last modified: April 20, 2019
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