“For Now, a Phone Call Will Do” – SEC Maintains ICO Observe Policy
At least ten companies have reportedly shelved plans in recent months for a token sale after receiving a phone call from the regulator, it has been revealed.
The companies that received those calls were those that the SEC felt to be violating federal securities laws, indicating that the American regulator continues to prefer intervening on a case-by-case basis.
The regulatory body held its ‘SEC speaks’ conference this weekend, during which several officials mentioned that cryptocurrencies are ‘an across-the-board priority.’
Robert Cohen, the head of the recently formed Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit said the unit has asked certain companies to voluntarily stop ICOs. He said that while the SEC had only brought cases against a handful of ICOs, it had halted many more.
The ICOs in question hadn’t registered with the SEC. It is believed that to date, no ICOs have actually done so.
During the call, the SEC also outlined plans for introducing formal learning programs on cryptocurrencies targeted at broker-dealers. They are concerned that investors are relying on advisers who don’t necessarily understand crypto-assets.
Earlier in the month, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton emphasised that cryptocurrency and ICO regulations should preserve innovation but also protect investors. He also expressed concern at the number of ‘bad actors’ using ICOs to mislead investors.
It appears that the regulator wants to avoid drafting a specific policy framework for ICOs, preferring to monitor blockchain projects within the US and stepping in where it is felt there is a violation of securities laws.