在标题为“ICO（Initial Coin Offerings）”的那一部分，他指出“很多上线交易虚拟币或代币的在线平台都明显缺乏信息披露。投资者往往不知道ICO内部人和管理人能够获得直接的流动性，例如大机构投资者，他们可能会以优惠价格购买代币。这些平台上的代币交易容易遭到价格操作和其他欺诈性交易行为。”
In a recent speech to an exclusive group of attorneys in New York, Walter Joseph “Jay” Clayton III, Securities and Exchange (SEC) Chairman, in prepared remarks and brief statements, equated Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) with securities, which will mean massive regulation of a red-hot market.
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton strayed from his speech to an exclusive group of lawyers, saying “I have yet to see an ICO that doesn’t have a sufficient number of hallmarks of a security,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
It’s the elusive Chair’s first statements regarding cryptocurrencies after President Trump nominated him in January (he was confirmed Summer by the Senate).
His talk was delivered to the 49th Annual Institute on Securities Regulation in New York City’s Roosevelt Hotel on 8 November 2017. Sponsored by the 84 year old Practising Law Institute, an organization created during the New
Deal, it’s a non-profit continuing legal education outfit. The three day gathering they host is a must for any LLC, and for a 2,495 USD ticket price readers can be sure those attending had networking opportunities galore.
“When you depart from the bitcoin or the ethereum, and you get into the tokens, the hallmarks become pretty clear,” Chair Clayton told the Journal. He is a long-time attorney who has represented Deutsche Bank, UBS (his wife worked for Goldman Sachs at the time of his nomination).
“Mr. Clayton said many ICOs resemble traditional stock offerings, with the only difference being the new fundraising tool involves tokens and distributed-ledger technology,” the article continued.
Better than 150 ICOs have raised upwards of 3 billion USD this year alone, attracting attention from celebrities, Wall Street, and, increasingly, government regulators. A number of governments have come down on ICOs, most notoriously China, and this appears to be a trend at least in the near future.
A Distinct Lack of Information
Chair Clayton’s, Governance and Transparency at the Commission and in Our Markets, opening night keynote, revolved around securities insider baseball: budgets, long and near-term plans, and a vague five year outlook for the SEC. Toward the end of his speech, exactly two paragraphs were dedicated to ICOs.
Under the heading, “Initial Coin Offerings,” he immediately lamented “a distinct lack of information about many online platforms that list and trade virtual coins or tokens offered and sold.” He quickly goes on to warn how “investors often do not appreciate that ICO insiders and management have access to immediate liquidity, as do larger investors, who may purchase tokens at favorable prices.”
“Trading of tokens on these platforms is susceptible to price manipulation and other fraudulent trading practices,” the Chairman elaborated.
He continued to explain ICOs “may be securities, and those who offer and sell securities in the United States must comply with the federal securities laws” and “any person or entity engaging in the activities of an exchange must register as a national securities exchange.”
In what might be interpreted as a slightly more aggressive tone, he ends with how “the Commission will continue to seek clarity for investors on how tokens are listed on these exchanges and the standards for listing; how tokens are valued; and what protections are in place for market integrity and investor protection.”
Implications of SEC registry means teams of attorneys for future ICOs.