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国际资讯监管与政策

英国金融市场行为监管局就ICO发布警告

昨日,英国金融市场行为监管局(The Financial Conduct Authority,FCA)对投资者就ICO存在的风险发出警告。此前已有多个国家就ICO发布警告,而中国则直接对ICO颁布禁令,FCA此举与之类似。

FCA表示,至于ICO是否属于受监管的股票债券,将视具体情况而定。其解释道:

许多ICO不属监管范围之内。然而ICO组织形式不同,有些ICO项目中会有常规投资和公司参与,这些投资和投资主体及其行为就属FCA的监管范围。

有些ICO特征与IPO、私募证券、众筹、甚至集体投资计划相似。一些代币可作为可转让证券,因此属于公开募股。

参与ICO企业应仔细考虑其行为是否等同于对受监管的金融投资做出安排、进行处理或提出建议。所有投资人应考虑其行为是否与相关法律规定的受监管行为无异。此外,进行数字货币交换、推升某种代币交换量时也应考虑该种服务是否需经由FCA批准。

目前,有关某些ICO或标记化的股票证券是证券还是"功能代币"的争论尚无定论。

FCA表示,ICO是"高风险的投机投资",消费者购买代币前需认识到此行为的风险并充分研究所投资项目。FCA建议经验丰富的投资人士方可考虑投资ICO。FCA发布了一项一览表,强调了此种投资形式的风险。

  1. 不受监管:大多数ICO不受FCA监管,许多ICO项目为海外企业发起。
  2. 无投资保障:投资者极可能不受英国金融服务补偿计划或英国金融督查服务保护。
  3. 价格波动大:代币价值与一般加密货币一样,极不稳定,易受重大变化影响。
  4. 存在诈欺风险:某些发行人并不打算如项目上市时制定好般使用所募资金。
  5. 文件不足:ICO提供的并不是受监管的募股书,通常仅提供一份"白皮书"。ICO白皮书有可能未进行精算、不完成或具误导性。要完全理解代币的特点与风险需复杂的技术性理解辅助。
  6. 处于发展初期:ICO项目一般处于发展初期,商业模式是试验性的,身家全失的可能性大。

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a consumer warning regarding Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The FCA's actions are similar to multiple national jurisdictions that have published warnings, or in the case of China - simply shut them down altogether.

As for whether or not ICOs are regulated offerings, the FCA stated they would be addressing this question on a case by case basis. The FCA explained:

Many ICOs will fall outside the regulated space. However, depending on how they are structured, some ICOs may involve regulated investments and firms involved in an ICO may be conducting regulated activities.

Some ICOs feature parallels with Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), private placement of securities, crowdfunding or even collective investment schemes. Some tokens may also constitute transferable securities and therefore may fall within the prospectus regime.

Businesses involved in an ICO should carefully consider if their activities could mean they are arranging, dealing or advising on regulated financial investments. Each promoter needs to consider whether their activities amount to regulated activities under the relevant law. In addition, digital currency exchanges that facilitate the exchange of certain tokens should consider if they need to be authorised by the FCA to be able to deliver their services.

Currently there is an ongoing debate as to whether are not certain ICOs or tokenized offerings constitute securities or are "utility tokens".

The FCA stated that ICOs are "very high-risk, speculative investments" and consumers should be conscious of the risks and fully research specific projects before purchasing tokens. The FCA recommended that only experienced investors should consider investing in ICOs. The regulators published a list that highlighted the risks:

  1. Unregulated space: Most ICOs are not regulated by the FCA and many are based overseas.
  2. No investor protection: You are extremely unlikely to have access to UK regulatory protections like the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or the Financial Ombudsman Service.
  3. Price volatility: Like cryptocurrencies in general, the value of a token may be extremely volatile - vulnerable to dramatic changes.
  4. Potential for fraud: Some issuers might not have the intention to use the funds raised in the way set out when the project was marketed.
  5. Inadequate documentation: Instead of a regulated prospectus, ICOs usually only provide a 'white paper'. An ICO white paper might be unbalanced, incomplete or misleading. A sophisticated technical understanding is needed to fully understand the tokens' characteristics and risks.
  6. Early stage projects: Typically ICO projects are in a very early stage of development and their business models are experimental. There is a good chance of losing your whole stake.

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