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SEC密切关注重心转向区块链的上市公司

国际资讯监管与政策

SEC密切关注重心转向区块链的上市公司

最近几个月当中,众多公司宣布转向了区块链业务,其中包括一家专门出售冰茶的公司。而这些公告常常会引发公司股价上涨,这种趋势本身引来了美国金融业监管机构等组织的警告,它们认为这存在被欺诈者所利用的可能。

近日,美国证券交易委员会主席Jay Clayton在华盛顿D.C.的一次活动中发表声明称,目前SEC正在深入调查这一问题,并且会特别关注投资者所披露的问题。

他还表示:

“我怀疑,有人会认为,一家上市公司去追求商业化的分布式账本或区块链技术是可以接受的,例如(1)开始涉足区块链活动,(2)更改其名称,如‘区块链***’(3)立即提供证券,即便它没有向主要投资者披露对于这些变化和所涉及风险的足够信息。”

本月早些时候,美国证券交易委员会发现,一家名为UBI Blockchain的上市公司更变其名称后,其股价发生了飙升,随后SEC立即停止了这家公司的股票交易。根据MarketWatch提供的数据显示,目前这家公司的股票仍然处在冻结的状态。

Clayton在他演讲的其他部分,还提到了一些为 ICO组织者提供建议的律师。

“首先,最让我困扰的是,很多ICO似乎也涉及到了律师的参与,一方面,他们协助发起者构建具有证券发行关键特性的产品,但将其称之为ICO,但它听起来很接近IPO。关于这些问题,我已经指示美国证券交易委员会的工作人员要对违反证券法精神以及美国证券律师职业义务的ICO高度警惕。”

The head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said today that the securities market regulator is "looking closely" at the trend of public companies that have announced new focuses on blockchain.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, a number of firms in recent months have made waves by announcing that they are shifting to blockchain business ventures, including a firm previously dedicated the sale of iced tea. And while those announcements have often sparked price increases, the trend itself has sparked warnings from both the agency as well as groups like FINRA as one potentially ripe for abuse by would-be fraudsters.

In statements issued earlier today during an event in Washington, D.C., SEC chairman Jay Clayton said that the agency is looking into the issue, honing in on the subject of investor disclosures specifically.

"The SEC is looking closely at the disclosures of public companies that shift their business models to capitalize on the perceived promise of distributed ledger technology and whether the disclosures comply with the securities laws, particularly in the case of an offering," Clayton remarked.

He also said:

"I doubt anyone in this audience thinks it would be acceptable for a public company with no meaningful track record in pursuing the commercialization of distributed ledger or blockchain technology to (1) start to dabble in blockchain activities, (2) change its name to something like "Blockchain-R-Us," and (3) immediately offer securities, without providing adequate disclosure to Main Street investors about those changes and the risks involved."

Earlier this month, for example, the SEC moved to halt trading of UBI Blockchain, a public firm that saw its price soar in the past year thanks to its crypto-oriented branding. Data from MarketWatch suggests that the stock remains frozen.

Taking lawyers to task

Elsewhere in his speech, Clayton also took aim at some of the lawyers providing advice to would-be ICO organizers.

"First, and most disturbing to me, there are ICOs where the lawyers involved appear to be, on the one hand, assisting promoters in structuring offerings of products that have many of the key features of a securities offering, but call it an "ICO," which sounds pretty close to an 'IPO,'" said Clayton.

Nearly as problematic, according to Clayton, are lawyers that "appear to provide the 'it depends' equivocal advice" regarding the blockchain use case, regardless of whether the associated token bears similarities to a security under U.S. law.

"With respect to these two scenarios, I have instructed the SEC staff to be on high alert for approaches to ICOs that may be contrary to the spirit of our securities laws and the professional obligations of the U.S. securities bar," he concluded.


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