For what it’s worth, the drawn out case between Dominion Bitcoin Mining Company and Saskatchewan’s financial regulator is finally over.
The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) first issued a temporary Cease Trade Order to Dominion on May 1, 2014. The company was accused of violating securities laws by marketing shares in various Bitcoin companies without filing a prospectus or registering with the FCAA.
The FCAA said that the website contained content describing what happens when investors acquire shares in any of ten “provincially held companies” contracting with Dominion. One page explained that investors would gain ownership of “every single bitcoin” it ever mines.
Dominion said the content on its website, www.dominionbitcoin.com, was not publicly accessible, and therefore, it was not soliciting investors. It charged that the FCAA hacked into encrypted webpages, or their “draft version”. The URL is no longer active.
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Much of the proceedings were consumed by wrangling over procedural issues, admissibility of evidence and other legal technicalities. At the final hearing last week, a three-member panel postponed a decision until yesterday.
An FCAA statement summarizes the panel’s findings and concludes that the company did not violate securities laws. It states:
“It is the determination of the Panel that, notwithstanding the initially apparent validity of the allegations of the FCAA Staff, an offering of shares did not at material times exist, and the parties did not individually or collectively engage in any acts in furtherance of trading or in any breach of the provisions of the Act.”
The panel asserted that (i) no securities were sold, (ii) no member of the public was subscribed, (iii) there were no shares created in anticipation of a sale, and (iv) the defendants “had no clear picture of what an investor might be investing in.”
Not that the ruling matters much, even considering the hundreds of hours spent on the case. The FCAA’s apparent goal was to ensure that the content is not publicized, which it isn’t. The statement concludes: “It would not, therefore, be in the public interest to award sanctions as sought by the Staff of the FCAA.”