Canadian Blockchain Expert Alex Tapscott and NextBlock Global Limited to Pay $1M for Misleading Investors

The settlement also reflects that Tapscott has voluntarily declined approximately $3M in carried interest that he was entitled to based on NextBlock's profits.

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The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) in Canada has approved a settlement agreement with Alex Tapscott and NextBlock Global Limited (NextBlock) in connection with misleading statements they made in offering memoranda provided to prospective investors in 2017.

“We will not tolerate market participants who play fast and loose with the facts when providing offering memoranda to prospective investors, including marketing decks,” said Jeff Kehoe, Director of Enforcement at the OSC. “This dishonest behaviour robs investors of the opportunity to make informed investment decisions and undermines confidence in our markets.”

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As a part of the settlement, NextBlock has agreed to pay an administrative penalty of CAD $700,000 plus $100,000 toward the costs of OSC Staff’s investigation. Additionally, Tapscott will pay an administrative penalty of $300,000.

“This settlement reinforces an important message: We will take action to address misleading disclosure and the serious harm it causes to Ontario investors and our markets, even if investors suffer no financial losses,” added Mr. Kehoe.

In settling this matter, Tapscott and NextBlock (the respondents) admit they made misleading statements in slide decks provided to more than 100 prospective investors in a private placement that raised approximately $20 million from 113 accredited investors over a two-month period in June and July 2017. The slide decks were the only materials provided to investors and positioned prominent blockchain figures as NextBlock’s advisors when, in fact, these individuals had not agreed to act as its advisors and had not consented to be included in the slide decks. Of note, one individual had never been approached by Tapscott to act for NextBlock in any capacity.

Tapscott has also agreed to perform community service by delivering ethics presentations to students at Canadian business schools, which will highlight the importance of complying with Ontario securities law. Additionally, Tapscott offered to publish an open letter about the impact and consequences of his misconduct in a national news publication. OSC Staff accepted this offer and included it as a term of the settlement. Together with a significant monetary sanction, these terms serve to deter other market participants from engaging in similar misconduct. 

The OSC said they appreciated the assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the investigation of this matter.

About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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