BISMARCK - Cease-and-desist orders were issued against three companies promoting unregistered and potentially fraudulent securities in North Dakota in the form of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), according to North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler.

The orders are a result of investigations by the department’s ICO Task Force, created to identify ICOs and cryptocurrency-related investments that pose a risk to North Dakota investors.

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The effort is also part of Operation Cryptosweep, an enforcement effort involving over 40 U.S. and Canadian securities regulators.

The companies that received the orders are Crystal Token, Advertiza Holdings (Pty) Ltd., and Life Cross Coin, also known as LifecrosscoinGmbH.

An ICO is a financing method used by startup companies to raise capital. Companies create a new virtual coin or token, which is then sold online to investors in the ICO in exchange for cryptocurrency or fiat currency. Companies market their ICOs through their own websites, social media platforms and online marketplaces. For more information, visit