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A federal judge has ruled that U.S. securities laws may cover an initial coin offering (ICO), handing the government a legal victory in its effort to regulate billions of dollars in cybercurrency offerings much like stocks.

The ruling came in a criminal case against a man charged with promoting digital currencies backed by investments in real estate and diamonds that prosecutors said didn’t exist. U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn, New York, said on Tuesday that the government can proceed with a case alleging that an initial coin offering is a security for purposes of federal criminal law.

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