SEC issues cease-and-desist order against ICO Rating; alleges firm got paid over $100k for promoting securities without disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a cease-and-desist order against ICO Rating, a cryptocurrency research and ratings firm. The commission is alleging that ICO Rating violated Section 17(b) of the Securities Act by publishing and giving publicity to reports "that describe securities in exchange for compensation received, directly or indirectly, from issuers, underwriters, or dealers, without disclosing its receipt of that compensation or the amount thereof."

According to the SEC, ICO Rating charged entities fees to rate and produce research reports on their ICO projects on its website. The firm also publicized these reports via social media channels. "During the relevant period, ICO Rating was paid consideration of $100,572, directly or indirectly, by certain issuers whose ICO projects it rated and publicized," the SEC stated in the order. However, ICO Rating did not disclose these payments to its readers. As part of the cease-and-desist order, the SEC is ordering ICO Rating to pay “disgorgement of $100,572, prejudgment interest of $6,426, and civil money penalty of $162,000.”