The SEC is Getting Into Cryptocurrency

March 5, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Well, we all knew this day would come eventually. New reports suggest that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States is sending out subpoenas at an almost terrifying clip, in a bid to survey the landscape and find out just what to make of the cryptocurrency market as a whole.

The reports suggest that the subpoenas are actually going out “by the dozen”, along with “scores” of information requests, to a range of technology firms operating in the cryptocurrency field. This comes on the heels of several warnings issued from the organization, noting that an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) might well be classified as a security ducking rules.

Though information gathering seems to be the focus right now, reports suggest the information gathered may well be used to start forming tighter regulations in the largely-unregulated cryptocurrency market. Jay Clayton, current SEC chairman, pointed out that many of these new releases were “…not complying with our securities laws”, and that the SEC needed to be “…on high alert for approaches to ICOs that may be contrary to the spirit…” of applicable laws.

With the current state of the cryptocurrency market perhaps best described by former SEC commissioner Dan Gallagher as “…the freaking Wild West,” it’s small surprise the SEC would take a more thorough and active interest in such offerings. A MIT Data report suggests that as much as $317 million of the ICO market has “likely gone to fraud or scams,” making it clear some kind of oversight was probably called for.

While there likely are a few concerns that this might well lead to an ultimate ban on new cryptocurrencies, or even current cryptocurrencies, these are almost certainly long shots on par with “asteroid slams into Earth and strikes oil.” More likely is that this is the first step toward a truly mainstream cryptocurrency concept, bringing it into play as a security on par with gold and pork bellies.

Only time will tell, of course, but we may be looking at a truly legit cryptocurrency market, one where cryptocurrencies are regularly bought and sold, part of business operations and investment portfolios everywhere. What that will do to the value is unclear; sudden run-ups may be a thing of the past, but steady upward gains aren’t out of line.