The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) regarding the BitConnect cryptocurrency investment scheme, citing an exemption usually applied to records tied to law enforcement.
The FOIA was sent by Florida lawyer David Silver, who though the law firm Silver Miller is representing clients in one of a number of lawsuits filed against BitConnect in recent weeks. Silver had previously sought a FOIA in relation to the controversial blockchain project Tezos, only to receive an identical rejection letter on Feb. 6.
As is the case with such letters, the SEC did not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, and the letter itself is not proof that an investigation. That said, Silver - who provided a copy of the newest letter to CoinDesk - said that he had been contacted by investigators from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regarding BitConnect, interpreting that as evidence that an inquiry is underway at the U.S. commodities trade regulator.
A representative for the CFTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"The SEC and CFTC's decision to investigate BitConnect is far from surprising. The thousands of people who have contacted me over the last month have lost collectively over one billion dollars," Silver told CoinDesk in an email, adding:
"As investors in cryptocurrency have begun to understand, where you invest and store your money is critical in this space. "Here today, gone tomorrow" is a scary mantra, whether it be at exchanges like BitConnect, BitGrail, Kraken, or CoinCheck. Customers need to feel secure in their exchange of choice."
As previously reported by CoinDesk, BitConnect was the subject of several cease-and-desist notices of U.S. state regulators, who cried foul ahead of a planned initial coin offering. The situation came to a head in mid-January when the team behind BitConnect announced that it would end its lending platform - a key characteristic of the scheme many have described as a Ponzi scheme or an outright fraud - in a move that sent the value of the BCC token plunging.
As of press time, BCC is trading at roughly $3.58, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
Records image via Shutterstock
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