The Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again stated that initial coin offerings (ICOs) are securities and should be regulated as such. The statement comes as Washington’s top securities regulator looks poised to expand its oversight of the token market even as issuers continue opting out of the U.S. jurisdiction.
Clayton Chimes In, Again
Speaking at the Invest in America town hall meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday, Chairman Jay Clayton reminded token issuers of their obligations when offering securities.
“Blockchain technology has incredible promise for securities and other industries,” Clayton said, adding that the technology behind ICOs has 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.”
Clayton has described ICOs as securities on multiple occasions but has been careful not to equate them with scams. He has publicly acknowledged that not all token raises are used for elicit behavior but has warned investors against fake projects.
The SEC is using more taxpayer dollars to better govern the cryptocurrency market in general and ICOs in particular. Earlier this month, the regulator designated Valerie Szczepanik as the new crypto czar where she will support the Division of Corporate Finance on aspects related to digital assets and innovation.
SEC Thailand Unveils New Crypto Laws
However, the SEC’s efforts pale in comparison to Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission, which is taking a more active approach to screening fraudulent projects. In fact, SEC Thailand is preparing to expand the unit for ICO registration as well as coordinate with the office dedicated to initial public offerings. This includes hiring more employees to keep pace with demand.
Thailand recently unveiled new regulations targeting cryptocurrencies and ICOs. For ICOs, authorities have declared that fundraising projects must oversee their offerings for at least one year while maintaining a minimum base capital requirement of 5 million baht (roughly $155,000 U.S.).
The new decree also stated:
“Each ICO offering can be offered to institutional and ultra-high-net-worth investors at an unlimited investment amount, but the investment is capped at 300,000 baht for retail investment per person and per ICO project, or no more than 70 percent of total value of offered tokens.”
According to Bangkok Post, five new ICOs are expected to enter the market shortly with at least 45 more already registered.
Thailand’s proactive approach to ICOs and crypto regulation suggests more nations are going their own way instead of relying on U.S. lawmakers to break ground. Investors are still awaiting a clear blueprint from the U.S. SEC or Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on how domestic markets will be governed.
ICO fundraisers have raised nearly $5.4 billion through the first six months of the year and are fast approaching last year’s $6 billion total. However, the total amount raised has slowed in five of the last six months, including a sharp decline in April.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
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