The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that while technology continued to transform markets, it also helped wrongdoers to engage in misconducts. The comments came amidst the cyber-attack on the cryptocurrencies and the enforcement division continuing to keep pace with the trends. In its annual report, the regulator pointed out that its actions on initial coin offerings (ICOs) have served as a broad message for other countries.
The SEC has created a division for addressing the misconduct of ICOs and digital assets. The regulator thinks that its approach was not only thoughtful but also consistent. Most importantly, it has offered a template of misconduct and fraud that were mostly aimed at luring American investors. After the cryptocurrency market peaked in December 2017, the SEC has been compelled to take some initiatives.
Pointing out the ICOs explosion in the last one-year period, the SEC said,
“We have used various tools—some traditional, such as the Commission’s trading suspension authority, and some more novel, such as the issuance of public statements—to educate investors and market participants, including lawyers, accountants, and other gatekeepers. We believe these investor-protection efforts have been successful.”
The regulator is also leveraging the technology to fulfill its objectives.
The SEC disclosed that it came out with recommendatory actions such as registration violation, unregistered broker-dealer activity, and instances where blockchain-associated technology is used mainly for fraudulent activities. For instance, co-founders of a financial services startup that invited the regulator’s action. Aside from that, it has also urged caution among celebrities promoting ICOs, and this brought to an end any such promotions.
The SEC pointed out another case wherein the fraudster has claimed it to be the first ‘decentralized bank’ and tried to raise money from retail investors. The regulator moved swiftly to curb any fraud with the help of a court order even as it is facing a steady increase in cybercrime after the establishment of a cyber unit last year. The Commission has brought 20 standalone cases in the financial year 2018 including ICOs and digital assets case. Currently, there are over 225 cyber-associated investigations that are still pending.