The commission alleges that Balina failed to disclose his compensation for promoting SPRK tokens in 2018.
Promoting and later reselling tokens tied to an initial coin offering (ICO) from 2018 has gotten crypto enthusiast Ian Balina in trouble with U.S. securities regulators.
The SEC alleges that Balina, through his business Boosterize, assisted Sparkster Ltd. of Cayman Islands with their unregistered SPRK token offering between April and July of 2018, with no disclosure to investors of his compensation for doing so.
Balina is also accused of violating the Securities Act by creating an investment pool on Telegram to resell his own SPRK tokens – thus conducting “his own unregistered offering of SPRK tokens.”
Balina was one of the primary promoters of initial coin offerings (ICOs) during 2017 and 2018 during their peak. He regularly shared these projects on his YouTube channel “Diary of a Made Man”, as well as other social media platforms.
Balina hosted his “Ian Balina Crypto World Tour,” where tech startups pitched to appear on his YouTube channel. Sparkster met Balina in Amsterdam and was featured on his channel after competing in a pitch contest there on May 11; following this success, he started to promote their SPRK token through both his website and social media pages.
Balina had privately negotiated with the Sparkster team to acquire 7,143 Ethereum (ETH), worth approximately $5 Million at the time of sale, for resale – and was offered a 30% SPRK token bonus as public promotion incentives.
The SEC is seeking both injunctive relief and reimbursement as well as civil penalties against these entities.
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