本周一，SEC宣布成立一个新的部门，专门调查“使用暗网的犯罪行为”，在暗网中，比特币和其它加密货币都曾被用于购买违禁品。该团队的负责人Robert A. Cohen曾经是SEC市场滥用调查部门的联合主管，将负责应对加密货币领域两种形式的犯罪：市场操控以及敏感信息窃取。
The SEC will target violations involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings (ICOs) as part of a new effort to fight cybercrime.
Announced late Monday, the unit will go after "misconduct perpetrated using the dark web," where bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are used to pay for illicit goods, the SEC said. The team, led by Robert A. Cohen, a former co-chief of the regulator’s market abuse unit, will also focus on two forms of crime that are often associated with, though hardly unique to, the crypto space: market manipulation and the theft of sensitive information.
The news comes less than a week after the SEC disclosed that its own database of corporate filings had been hacked. However, the agency said Monday that the new cyber unit "has been in the planning stages for months."
Perhaps supporting that claim, the announcement was issued exactly two months after the SEC’s shot across the bow of the ICO market – a July 25 investor bulletin that said U.S. securities law may apply to digital token sales.
Still, that bulletin has done little to cool the white-hot market for token sales. More than $600 million in ICOs have been completed since, according to CoinDesk's ICO Tracker.
Separate from the cyber unit, the SEC said Monday, it has also created a retail strategy task force that will "develop proactive, targeted initiatives to identify misconduct impacting retail investors." While this task force’s mission was not described as being specifically aimed at the crypto space, the SEC said this new team will "apply the lessons learned from [past securities fraud] cases and leverage data analytics and technology to identify large-scale misconduct affecting retail investors."
Those words may come as welcome news to ICO skeptics who claim that many of these sales have preyed on unsophisticated consumers.