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国际资讯监管与政策

SEC开启为期1年的加密货币企业调查

美国证券交易委员会(SEC)传唤了80家加密货币公司,包括TechCrunch创始人迈克尔·阿林顿(Michael Arrington)发起的价值1亿美元的加密货币基金。

Arrington告诉CNBC他收到了一份传票。他说对传票没有意见,因为政府必须制定市场规则。

证券法是否适用于数字货币监管,目前还并未有确切的结论。尽管SEC说数字货币需要受到监管,但其并未说明数字货币开发者应如何遵守监管规则。因此,加密货币公司只能依靠律师来证明其公司并未从事加密货币诈骗。

在某些情况下,鉴于法律方面的不确定性因素,加密货币公司会选择不让美国投资者参与其代币发售活动。

由于市场吸纳了数十亿美元的资金,SEC从去年开始就已经在调查有关加密货币的信息。上周,SEC就新的数字货币项目发出了大量的传票。

Morrison Cohen加密货币诉讼团队负责人杰森·戈特利布(Jason Gottlieb)表示,SEC纽约、波士顿和旧金山办公室都已经发出了传票。

为期1年的调查

PlexCorps被控欺诈,而这家公司的代表律师正是Gottlieb。他说SEC的调查将会持续1年的时间。

据知情人士透露,到目前为止约有80家公司都收到了传票。

目前SEC并未对此作出回应。

Arrington说,SEC的调查加上监管环境的不确定性导致部分加密货币活动向海外转移。他说,美国选择封闭自己是不应该的。以投资者的角度来看,他个人对中国以及其临近的亚洲国家的项目更感兴趣,他认为这些国家的项目质量很高。

不同国家态度不同

不同国家的监管部门对加密货币采取了不同的措施。

中国去年9月已经禁止了ICO。日本去年4月开始为加密货币交易所颁发许可证,而韩国在年初禁止了匿名的账户交易。

区块链投资者以及《商业区块链》的作者威廉·莫加耶尔(William Mougayar)说,他希望SEC不要对代币进行分类,因为这样会造成市场灾难。他认为最合理的监管措施是,在不进行过分限制的前提下,要求项目方公开适当的信息。

光是去年,通过ICO募集的资金就超过了50亿美元。不过,这类代币发行的前提都是白皮书必须存在。

SEC在行动

SEC主席杰伊·克莱顿(Jay Clayton)和美国商品期货交易委员会(CTFC)主席共同发布的一篇文章称,SEC将主要资源都投放在了ICO市场。该委员会还在去年夏天发布了投资者指南,对ICO可能构成的风险提出了警告。

Gottlieb认为伴随着SEC调查结果而来的将会是“一团乱的法院判决”,出台全面的法律或监管政策还需要更多的时间。他说,最高法院可能需要参与解决一些问题。

根据最高法院1946年的一个案例,某种资产是否属于证券通常需要由“Howey Test”决定。

Washington Analysis的高级金融服务政策分析师瑞恩·舍恩(Ryan Schoen)说,这类传票将会把部分代币定义为未登记的证券。

Schoen说,涉及交易未登记证券的交易所很可能会受到SEC监管。

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has subpoenaed 80 cryptocurrency companies, including the $100 million cryptofund of TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, according to CNBC.

Arrington told CNBC Thursday that he has received a subpoena, as has every cryptofund he has spoken to.

Arrington said he has no problem with the subpoena. He said the government has to figure out its rules for the market to follow.

It remains undetermined whether securities laws apply to digital coins. While the SEC has said digital coins are subject to regulations, it has not indicated how digital coin developers can comply with the regulations. As a result, cryptocurrency firms have had to rely on lawyers to distinguish their companies from cryptocurrency scams.

In some cases, cryptocurrency companies have chosen to ban U.S. investors from participating in their offerings on account of the legal uncertainties.

The SEC has sought more information about cryptocurrencies in the last year as the market has drawn billions of dollars. This past Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported the SEC has issued scores of subpoenas regarding new digital coins.

Jason Gottlieb, a partner and head of the cryptocurrency litigation team at Morrison Cohen, said SEC offices in New York, Boston and San Francisco has issued subpoenas. Another source confirmed these locations.

Probe Expected To Last A Year

Gottlieb, who is representing PlexCorps, a company facing SEC fraud charges, said the overall SEC investigation will continue throughout the year.

A source claimed about 80 firms have been subpoenaed thus far.

The SEC did not respond to a CNBC request for comment.

SEC investigations, along with regulatory uncertainty, have driven some cryptocurrency activities offshore, Arrington said. He said it is a shame that the U.S. has “frozen itself.”

From an investor’s point of view, Arrington said he has become more interested in projects from China and nearby Asian countries, characterizing them as “uniformly high quality.”

Countries Approach Crypto Differently

Regulators in different countries have taken different approaches to cryptocurrencies.

China banned ICOs in September. Japan licensed cryptocurrency exchanges in April, while South Korea banned anonymous trading accounts in late January.

William Mougayar, a blockchain investor and the author of a book, “The Business Blockchain,” said he hopes the SEC doesn’t classify tokens, since it would be a “slippery slope.” He said it would make more sense to focus on well defined disclosures without being overly restrictive.

ICOs raised more than $5 billion last year alone, according to Autonomous Next. Such offerings, however, hardly exist beyond a whitepaper posting.

SEC Clamping Down

Jay Clayton, chairman of the SEC, has penned an op-ed along with the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission stating that the SEC is devoting major resources to the ICO market. The commission released an investor bulletin over the summer warning about dangers posed by ICOs.

Gottlieb expects a “hodgepodge of court decisions” to result from the SEC investigation rather than laws or regulations which would require more time to develop. He said the Supreme Court may have to be involved to resolve some questions.

Whether or not an asset is a security is usually guided by the “Howey Test,” based on a 1946 Supreme Court case.

Ryan Schoen, a senior financial services policy analyst at Washington Analysis, said the subpoenas will likely result in some tokens found to be unregistered securities.

The exchanges involved in trading unregistered securities will likely be next to fall under SEC scrutiny, Schoen said.


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