Estonian Blockchain Startup Targets $180 Mil in SAFT-Based ICO

Many times blockchain startups choose to ban U.S. investors from participating in ICOs over regulatory concerns. At least one Estonia-based company is not shying away from the jurisdiction, as evidenced by a SAFT filing with the U.S. securities regulator for an ICO targeting $180 million. But the wheels on the ICO have only just started to begin to roll and there’s already controversy surrounding this future crowdsale.

NewTech Myning OU filed a Form D with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in recent days for a fundraising event. According to the filing, the company was founded this year and is domiciled in Tallinn, Estonia reached out to the individual listed on the SEC filing. This person, who asked not to be named, is identified on the filing as a board member, but it turns out the company did this behind his back. The individual is an attorney who was engaged to establish the company with bank accounts in accordance with regulation and money laundering laws.

“I was hired to establish the company and the company will eventually be sold and the name will change. I did what attorneys normally do – open the company’s bank account, etc. Then it will be given to the client so that the client can start operating. That’s the business I’m doing,” the attorney told

The attorney asked the company a few days ago to stop using his name in association with the company, as he’s not a part of it. “I don’t know why my name is [on the filing]. It was news to me. Something was not agreed upon with me. I asked them to stop,” he said, adding “he hopes” they are complying. (another media outlet similarly reached out to this individual, in response to which he contacted the company and asked them to refrain from using his name.)

Bank Accounts

According to the attorney, the blockchain startup is not engaged with cryptocurrency mining, as the name of the company — NewTech Myning — might suggest. That name will change in the coming months. “There will be new names and a new shareholder,” he said, adding that he was not at liberty to disclose the details or focus of the project.

The attorney shares that the company currently has bank accounts in Estonia. He doesn’t know about the U.S. but said that the filing suggests they want to open something in the country.

NewTech Myning’s apparent reckless use of an attorney’s name in their public US filing at the very least requires an apology on the company’s part. ICOs have enough hurdles to overcome and there have been enough instances of falsely claiming someone’s association with a project for them to know better. Whether or not U.S. regulators take issue with it remains to be seen.

Estonia Rising

Estonia’s profile for cryptocurrencies is on the rise, perhaps more than any other Baltic state. The tiny country is known for its embrace of tech innovation, as evidenced by its role in bringing Skype to the world. Estonian officials have pondered the development of the country’s own digital currency, though those plans appear to have been scuttled.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Gerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.