On 5 December, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced the firms that were successful in their applications to begin testing in the third cohort of the FCA’s regulatory sandbox. The sandbox allows firms to test innovative products, services or business models in a live market environment. The sandbox was a first for regulators worldwide. Since it opened, the sandbox has supported almost 70 firms in testing innovative products and services. The FCA is seeing more applicants from outside London and a broader range of firms. The FCA has also opened the application window for its fourth sandbox cohort.
On December 4, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) new Cyber Unit obtained an emergency asset freeze to halt a Canadian initial coin offering (“ICO”) called PlexCoin that had raised up to $15 million from thousands of investors. The SEC filed its complaint (“Complaint”) in the Eastern District of New York, alleging that the sponsor and his company, PlexCorps, marketed and sold securities to investors in the U.S. and elsewhere under a variety of false pretenses, including that PlexCoin would yield a 1,354% profit in less than 29 days. The complaint seeks permanent injunctions, disgorgement plus interest and penalties.