News

Texas Is Ordering a Southlake Oil Company to Stop Taking Investments in Bitcoin

You can buy anything with Bitcoin (pictured above) these days: A sandwich; art; insurance. And, until yesterday, at least, you could also buy shares in Texas oil wells.

The oil well shares were offered by a Southlake company called Balanced Energy, which, according to its website, is currently offering a couple prospects in Runnels County near San Angelo. Typically, investors buy interests using U.S. dollars. But at the Texas Bitcoin Conference in Austin last week, Balanced Energy president Kirk Johnson apparently told attendees that he also accepts the popular crypto-currency.

See also: A Federal Judge in McKinney Man's Digital Ponzi Case Rules that Bitcoin Is Real Money

The state of Texas is not pleased. On Monday, Texas Securities Commissioner John Morgan sent Johnson and Balanced Energy an emergency cease-and-desist letter telling him to stop.

Morgan's complaint isn't just that Balanced Energy is accepting Bitcoin. It's that he's recruiting non-accredited investors, saying things like "we don't do any verification" and "we're not going to play paperwork police," and "intentionally failing to disclose any material facts relating to the nature of the risks associated with the investment."

Those risks he's not mentioning include the uncertainty associated with Bitcoin, whose price fluctuations "may affect business operations," so, for the sake of headlines and agency press releases, it's Bitcoin.

Bloomberg reports this may be the first Bitcoin-related cease-and-desist order issued by a state securities commissioner, which is something to be proud of?

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson