The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has held a public forum, dubbed “Investing in America: Atlanta Town Hall Meeting.” The event was highly anticipated by American crypto aficionados as the regulators were expected to shed light on upcoming crypto regulations.
The talks reaffirmed that governmental institutions welcome the innovation in distributed ledger technology but are increasingly vary of scams and fraudulent activities, which are so often associated with ICOs. Even though no token was singled out, the regulatory stance on ICOs remained the same – they are securities and should be regulated as such.
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton claimed that “Blockchain technology has incredible promise for securities and other industries, I think we all can agree on that. It greatly reduces transactions costs, including the costs of verification. It’s a powerful technology… That technology, people have used to apply to fundraise… we’ve had pretty clear rules on how to conduct fundraising when you’re offering securities. Much of what I have seen in the ICO or token or ICO space, is a security offering… I don’t know how much more clear I can be about it.”
Kara Stein, commissioner of the SEC went on to add that, “Cryptocurrency has the potential to reduce the cost of investing. It could decrease the cost of capital allocation. We are being challenged, we are being disrupted like everybody else is… and one of the things we’re thinking about is how to embrace the innovation and make sure it’s used effectively. One thing we are thinking through is how to ideally anticipate and prevent problems before they arise.”
Mr. Clayton has previously likened ICOs to scams, although has been careful not to put an equation symbol between the two. In April he claimed that not all ICOs are fraudulent but nonetheless warned investors that many actors of the ICO industry do not abide to SEC regulations that govern securities.
The SEC has been increasing its efforts to extend its control over the nascent ICO and cryptocurrency industries. Earlier this month Valerie Szczepanik has been assigned to the so-called ‘crypto czar’ position, which will see her overseeing aspects related to digital assets and innovation on the Division of Corporate Finance.
In addition, SEC has been showing its own innovative capabilities recently, as the regulatory watchdog launched a fake ICO website called HoneyCoins.com, to educate and warn investors against deceitful ICO schemes.
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