As part of his plea agreement, Chen admitted to running and promoting U.S. Fine Investment Arts (USFIA), an Arcadia, Calif., company that peddled investors its “Gemcoin” digital currency, backed by gemstones that did not actually exist.
Steve Chen, the ringleader behind the $100 million-plus Gemcoin fraud of 2013-2015, agreed to plead guilty Wednesday to tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The 62-year-old resident of Southern California will face a minimum of 10 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The multi-level-marketing scheme attracted 70,000 victims worldwide in its two years of operation for a total haul of $147 million, according to the DOJ.
According to the DOJ, part of Chen’s plea acknowledges he reported income of $138,000 in 2014, far less than the $4.8 million he actually took in that year.
“Mr. Chen lured victim investors around the globe by creating a mirage made of fashionable cryptocurrency features and dynamic marketing tactics”, said Paul Delacourt, the assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Los Angeles Field Office, in the DOJ statement.
USFIA also triggered a whirlwind of chaos in local California politics. An Arcadia councilor loosely associated with the project resigned under pressure less than a week after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission raided USFIA’s headquarters in 2015.
The SEC’s subsequent case resulted in a $74 million judgment against USFIA in 2017.
Gartner Research: Smart Contract Adoption to Increase Data Quality by 50% Over 3 Years
However, data availability is set to decline over the same period due to blockchain technology replacing traditional business processes. By initiating smart contracts and eliminating all access to data otherwise available from third-party intermediaries it would remove those third-parties from the transaction.
“This variable could leave participants in a worse position than if they did not participate in the blockchain smart contract process. As such, an organization’s overall data asset availability would decrease by 30 percent by 2023”, added Jones.
Gartner’s recent report, “Predicts 2020: Data and Analytics Strategies – Invest, Influence and Impact” (paywalled), also said smart contract technology remains very much in its infancy, with globalized organizations slow to adopt it.
The net impact, however, is a positive result for data and analytics return on investment (ROI), the report notes.
Smart contracts are programs or protocols, operating on a blockchain that facilitate, verify or execute business processes triggered by events as well as on-chain transactions or interactions with other smart contracts.
According to Gartner’s 2018 Fourth Chief Data Officer Survey, the most successful data and analytics leaders embrace blockchain and smart contracts to “enable and drive data program success.”
Game Maker Electronic Arts Trolls Crypto Twitter
A brand account bested crypto Twitter at its own game today, trolling the space with a misleading instructions to go all-in on cryptocurrency.
Earlier this afternoon, the Electronic Arts twitter account tweeted out “invest in Crypto”, seemingly unprompted. The tweet had over 10,000 favorites and 4,000 retweets and many Twitter users suggested the account had been hacked.
invest in Crypto.
– Electronic Arts (@EA) September 19, 2019
Known for sports action games like Madden and FIFA, the tweet was actually a marketing stunt aimed at introducing a new character in its game, Apex Legends Season 3: Meltdown! coming out this October. The new character is named ‘Crypto,’ in this case referring to traditional cryptography and not Satoshi white papers.
In an apparent conversation with itself, the @EAAccess account asked back “Brother, why do you do this? You will disappoint father” to which it @EA answered “He’s used to it.”
Brother, why do you do this? You will disappoint father.
– EA Access (@EAAccess) September 19, 2019
Sadly, cryptocurrency fans–not “father”–ended up being the ones disappointed.