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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought charges against the owner of two Bitcoin sites for selling unregistered shares in two websites.
The agency charged Erik Voorhees (no relation to Jason Vorhees) with selling shares in the Bitcoin betting site SatoshiDICE and in the Bitcoin marketing site FeedZeBirds. Vorhees took payment for the shares in Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that you can use to purchase real-world goods and services and exchanged for fiat currencies on certain online exchanges.
Vorhees will have to cough up all the proceeds of the sales — $15,843.98 — and pay a $35,000 fine as part of a settlement agreement with the SEC.
“All issuers selling securities to the public must comply with the registration provisions of the securities laws, including issuers who seek to raise funds using Bitcoin,” says the SEC’s enforcement division director Andrew J. Ceresney in a release today. “We will continue to focus on enforcing our rules and regulations as they apply to digital currencies.”
Voorhees spread the word about the share sales in Bitcoin forums and on Facebook, the SEC says. He even described one of the offerings as the “FeedZeBirds IPO.”
While the Vorhees case is just the latest in a line of legal run-ins involving the SEC and Bitcoin operators, some signs point to the currency possibly heading toward the mainstream. At least two Bitcoin-based startups, BitPay and Circle, have held sizable funding rounds in 2014.