(Adds Voorhees statement)
By Jonathan Stempel
June 3 A well-known proponent of bitcoin, the
electronic currency, agreed to pay nearly $51,000 to settle
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil charges he
publicly offered unregistered shares in two Internet ventures,
the regulator said on Tuesday.
Erik Voorhees, 29, published prospectuses and solicited
investors through the Bitcoin Forum website to buy shares in
FeedZeBirds and SatoshiDICE, both of which he co-owned, without
first registering the offerings as required under federal
securities law, according to the SEC.
The settlement calls for Voorhees to give up $15,844 in
profit and interest, and pay a $35,000 fine. He did not admit or
Voorhees is also a founder of Coinapult, which lets users
transfer bitcoin via email or messaging service. The virtual
currency is transacted independent of central control, and is
not backed by any government or central bank.
"All issuers selling securities to the public must comply
with the registration provisions of the securities laws,
including issuers who seek to raise funds using bitcoin," said
Andrew Ceresney, head of the SEC enforcement division.
In a statement posted on the Reddit website, Voorhees said:
"With this matter resolved, I look forward to helping to build
the bitcoin industry and the future of finance."
The SEC said Voorhees helped raise 2,600 bitcoins in May
2012 through the sale of 30,000 shares in FeedZeBirds, which
promises to pay bitcoins to Twitter users who forward sponsored
It also accused Voorhees of helping raise 50,600 bitcoins
from August 2012 to February 2013 through the sale of 13 million
shares of SatoshiDICE, a gaming website that pays out
casino-like winnings in bitcoin.
SatoshiDICE was sold last July for more than $11 million,
Voorhees said at the time.
According to the SEC, the value of bitcoin has fluctuated
since Voorhees' first unregistered offering from about $5 to
$1,200 per bitcoin.
The case is In re: Voorhees, SEC Administrative Proceeding
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jeffrey
Benkoe and Andrew Hay)