Today’s “Investing In America” event is a US Securities and Exchange Commission led discussion with members of the public, primarily concerned with addressing current affairs surrounding investor awareness and protection, including new tools provided by the SEC to minimise fraudulent and unfair investment practices. The panel consists of 5 SEC Commissioners including Commissioner Stein, Commissioner Piwowar and the SEC Chairman, Jay Clayton.
The discussion has partly covered the ongoing adoption of blockchain technology and the SEC’s current position on ICO’s, as well as clamping down on ponzi schemes and other misleading ventures. What is clear from the recent commentary, is that the SEC remains pro-blockchain but recognises a need to insulate investors from potential harm.
In a question directed at Chairman Clayton, we heard first hand where the SEC stands on ICO’s:
Q: “Does the SEC have any official position that relates to Blockchain technology because right now without lot of clear guidance, a lot new technologies are moving overseas. How will you keep those technologies here in the U.S?”
Clayton A: “Blockchain technology has incredible promise for the securities and other industries. I think we can all agree on that. What Blockchain technologies does among other things... is that it greatly reduces transactions costs, including costs of verification. Powerful technology”
Chairman Clayton goes on to comment on the SEC’s official position on initial coin offerings, reaffirming that the Commission will not change its regulatory stance on digital assets as recognised securities; irrespective of whether it drives fintech startups away.
“[Blockchain] technology [has been] used to apply to fundraising.. We’ve been very clear… for a long time on how to conduct fundraising when you’re offering securities. Much of what I have seen in the ‘ICO’ space is a securities offering. It is raising money for a project where I give you my money, you give me some type of right back that reflects a return on a project, that’s [a] securities offering… I don’t know how much more clear I can be about it”
Going on to further add,
“There’s 2 ways to do it. You can do a private placement or a public offering. We’ve built a 19 trillion dollar economy, an economy that’s the envy of the world… following those rules. I expect people to follow them.”
From this it is clear that the SEC remains fully committed to the current digital asset regulations, broadcasting a poignant message to all those wishing to conduct token offerings in the U.S, that the Commission will allow no exceptions to the current securities law, no matter what the economic cost.
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