SEC launches probe into cryptocurrency, targets ICOs, reports WSJ.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a probe into cryptocurrency business, the Wall Street Journal reported today, Feb. 28th. Undisclosed sources told WSJ that the regulatory agency has a currently unknown number of subpoenas and information requests to advisers and technology companies active in the United States’ cryptocurrency market.
Among the subpoenas from the top US securities regulatory agency are demands regarding the structure for sales and pre-sales for ICOs, which do not fall under the same rigorous scrutiny of public offerings. The increased pressure follows previous inquiries from the SEC, which have suggested that many token sales and ICOs may be violating securities laws.
Earlier this month, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton promised increased scrutiny on companies who seek to “capitalize on the perceived promise” of an increased stock value following an announcement of investment in cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology. The SEC has come down on several companies recently, suspending the activities of some due to unclear associations with cryptocurrency and crypto business.
While US federal agencies grow more suspicious of crypto business, at the state level, legislation is being introduced and passed that would relax certain controls on cryptocurrencies.
The state of Wyoming is taking a particularly laissez-faire approach to cryptocurrency regulation, passing a law that completely exempts tokens from securities regulations if they meet a short list of requirements. Wyoming also introduced a bill earlier this month that, if passed, would exempt cryptocurrencies from property taxes, per its current status under US tax law.
The state senate of Arizona has passed a bill that authorizes cryptocurrencies to be used for paying state taxes and license fees. Should it pass the Arizona House of Representatives, it will be the first state to accept cryptocurrencies in payments to the government.