The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered Tierion to pay back investors in its TNT tokens after finding that the data verification startup’s $25 million initial coin offering (ICO) violated securities laws.
TNT holders and ICO investors who sold their tokens at a loss have 60 days to ask Tierion for what is essentially a refund – at cost, plus interest. Node operators can sell their compensatory TNT back to Tierion for .01 cent plus interest.
Tierion must immediately disable trading of its ERC-20 token, which runs on the Ethereum blockchain, under the settlement disclosed Wednesday. It will pay the SEC $250,000 in penalties. Tierion did not admit or deny wrongdoing, according to the SEC. The SEC also issued Tierion a Reg D waiver, meaning it won’t have to register future private placements of securities, because it cooperated.
The order effectively blows up 1 billion TNT tokens. At the time of its 2017 ICO, Tierion pitched them as the “method of settlement” between users of its data verification network, the “Chainpoint protocol,” and an “incentive” to secure the network. The order said Tierion sold 350 million TNT to 4,800 investors.
But Tierion, which at one point had buy-in from the likes of Microsoft, plans to continue forth without TNT. Founder and CEO Wayne Vaughn told CoinDesk in a text message that the settlement allows Tierion “to move forward without a heavy regulatory burden.” He framed TNT’s demise as the token going into “retirement.”
“This announcement does not impact the availability of Tierion’s current products or open-source software,” Tierion said in a Medium post.