“A White Paper Does Not Make A Crypto Company Legally Responsible”: Israel-Based Crypto Entrepreneur
For those that want to see more in the way of legal accountability for Initial Coin Offerings from Crypto investments, there is a longer fight to take up. According to Moshe Hogeg, who made a name for himself within Israel as a major investor in cryptocurrency, as well as the mind behind Stox (STX), the blockchain based firm.
According to Hogeg, who has denied accusations of misappropriation from a range of investors within a lawsuit filed against him. He went on to argue that he did not take part in any misappropriations. This is according to initial reports from the local Times of Israel, which reported on the development on Saturday February the 9th.
One of those involved in the action lawsuit against Hogeg included the investor and entrepreneur from China, Zhewen Hu, who filed a lawsuit against Stox and Hogeg for a total of $4.6 million. Hu has previously stated that he was involved in an initial, and personal investment in the company of roughly $3.8 million worth of Ethereum (ETH) within an open source, prediction market platform that is based off the Ethereum blockchain.
Hu made it clear within his lawsuit that he was promised that Stox had all the financial and consumer based interest in order to be a great success, allowing for the underlying value of the STX token (the marketplace's native digital token) increase in value over time. It was made clear by the plaintiff, however that, of the $3.8 million that Hu invested, only $5 million was successfully raised out of the initially forecasted $34m which would go on to fund Stox.
Hu does go on to argue that the funds accrued by Hogeg's ICO was put to use in other fields, with the rest of the $3.3m being applied to other ICOs that were taking place during the same time. This includes the messaging app called Telegram, which launched in April last year.
Regardless of Hogeg's use of this capital investment, the lawyers that represent Hogeg stated that during February 5th that the ‘descriptive nature' of the Stox white paper was not a legal document. The lawyers team stated the descriptive white paper made it a non-legally binding document. It is with that in mind that the document in question provided no obligatory program and, as a result, provides no legal protection for those that get involved in the product in question, Hogeg's lawyers conclude.
The Times of Israel reported that Hogeg would go on to deny any wrongdoing associated with the Initial Coin Offering, stating that the lawsuit was merely operating as an ‘extortion attempt.' He goes on to argue that the Stox native token does not operate as a security, and therefore grants no ownership rights within the company. Hogeg goes on to refer back to the contribution terms available to investors on the Stox website.
Along with this statement, the Stox company (also known as STX Technologies Limited) operates as an entity based out of Gibraltar. This comes down to the fact that Hogeg believes that Israel is not a viable place to operate for blockchain companies, believing that Gibraltar was an ideal place for it, meaning that Israel has no jurisdiction to proceed with this legal action.
In the past, Hogeg has been directly involved with a large number of cryptocurrency related companies and projects. This includes his work as the founder of Sirin Labs, the company behind the blockchain based smartphone – the Finney Phone. He also serves as the Chairman of Leadcoin, which serves as a lead-sharing network, while also operating in a completely decentralized environment.
While this is a time that many individuals that face legal action would keep some kind of low porfile, Hogeg has proven to the contrary, with The Times of Israel reporting that the entrepreneur has, instead, been investing millions of dollars on various blockchain and cryptocurrency projects over the first months of 2019.
An example of this includes the fact that Hogeg bought one of the major football teams in Israel – Beitar Jerusalem, for a total of $7.2 million as of late August 2018. Along with this, he went on to donate a total of $1.9 million to Tel Aviv University, in order to contribute to its IT department, as well as establish the ‘Hogeg Institute for Blockchain Applications.'
News sources have also reported that the Professional Boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr has been forthcoming about his support for the Stox Initial Coin Offering. Ironically, both he and DJ Khaled have previously faced legal proceedings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States' regulatory body for new and applying securities and assets. These proceedings were due to his promotion of the since illegal cryptocurrency startup – Centra Tech and its Initial Coin Offering in September 2017. Since then, Mayweather has reportedly paid a total of $300,000 for disgorgement, as well as a penalty of $300,000 as well as nearly $15,000 in interest.