When bitcoin bros* talk unregistered securities

Fintech updates

Good morning to everyone including those who tweet things that come round to bite them on the proverbial. (We can once again embed tweets! Thank you FT devs.)

Yes, that’s our old pal Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano — purveyor of dollar-payable “bitcoin pizza”, hard currency theory, and heartfelt eulogies that double up as buy signals — having a pop at Ripple after the SEC charged the company and two of its executives for conducting a $1.3bn unregistered securities offering.

Now we wouldn’t be so sexist and unfair as to call Pomp a “bro”, so we’ll leave that to the “Crypto bros taking Ls” account, who trace some interesting developments relating to that fateful tweet just before Christmas:

Yep, our man Pomp joined $3bn-valued BlockFi as a board member back in August 2020, only to see it on the receiving end of its own regulatory crackdown over the weekend from three state authorities. The allegation against the Tiger Global (who else?)-backed company is that by offering interest on crypto deposited with BlockFi, it was selling unregistered securities to its users. And, in case you’re wondering, the interest rate on those accounts could go as high as 8.6 per cent, according to the Texas docket. Which, when you consider that bank savings rates are circa 0.5 per cent stateside, does seem miraculously high.

BlockFi have said the following on Twitter:

The company has until the end of the month to persuade regulators that it hasn’t been breaking local state security law, or it will have to stop offering the product. (It is worth noting that a fourth state — Vermont — joined the party Sunday evening, but the wording of its order has yet to be revealed.)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pomp doesn’t seem to have mentioned BlockFi on his Twitter feed in recent days. He, of course, has far more lofty things to mull over, like crypto-Rasputin Jack Dorsey’s beauty pageant-esque statements on the small matter of:

In case you just can’t get enough of the man, we should inform you that a couple of weeks ago our Pomp launched a daily, two-hour-long show on YouTube with his two brothers (no not like “bros”; we mean actual Pompliano brothers), and it really is worth a watch. It’s called quite simply “The Best Business Show” and its purpose is, rather ambitiously, to school us all on “Bitcoin, Finance, Cryptocurrencies & everything in between”. Why? Because according to Pomp “financial education is a national emergency”. Thank God he is here to help.

*Not all bitcoin bros self-identify as such.

Related links:
When bitcoin bros* mourn the dead – FT Alphaville
When bitcoin bros* talk money-printing – FT Alphaville
When bitcoin bros* talk renewable energy – FT Alphaville
When bitcoin bros talk cryptography – FT Alphaville 
When bitcoin bros talk finance – FT Alphaville
When bitcoin bros talk hard news – FT Alphaville 
When bitcoin bros talk digitisation – FT Alphaville

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