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Judge orders Manchester tech firm to pay $111k fine over cryptocurrency sales

U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire
Ali Oshinskie
/
NHPR
Federal courthouse in Concord, New Hampshire.

A federal judge is ordering a Manchester-based tech company to pay $111,614 in fines for violating securities regulations.

In 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued LBRY (pronounced ‘library’) for failing to register its own cryptocurrency as a security and touting its potential value to investors.

LBRY contended the government has not spelled out clear rules on cryptocurrencies, and that it began offering its digital currency “during a time of great uncertainty as to the regulatory requirements,” according to court paperwork.

Last November, Judge Paul Barbadoro granted a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the SEC, ruling that LBRY did not have a “triable defense” in the case. This week, Barbadoro sided with the SEC in determining LBRY’s civil penalties, rather than the company’s request for a $50,000 fine.

LBRYis the parent company of Odysee, a YouTube-like platform with little content moderation that uses blockchain technology. Jeremy Kauffman, who founded the company, was the Libertarian candidate for New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate race in 2022, finishing in third place.

Content creators on Odysee could earn digital tokens issued by the company. Users could then spend them on the website or other apps, while investors could buy and sell the token on third-party exchange sites. According to the judge’s order, LBRY has said it plans to “burn” its holdings of the cryptocurrency.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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