The United States Securities and Exchange Commission is beginning an investigation into the cryptocurrency markets at large, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday.
According to the report, “scores of subpoenas” have been issued by the SEC with the aim of collecting information from firms who deal with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources who claim that the subpoenas are part of a larger effort that may lead to the legal restructuring of ICOs.
No Word from the SEC, But a Trend of Action Against ICOs
As of yet, there is no official word from the SEC on the matter. However, the SEC has made some gestures suggesting that many ICOs have been violating United States securities laws.
An apparent ‘crackdown’ by the federal SEC led to the shutdown of the Munchee ICO in late 2017; amid other ICO shutdowns, the SEC halted the $1 billion AriseBank ICO in late January after alleging that it was a scam.
The individual SECs of some US states have taken independent actions against blockchain firms who they find to be conducting suspicious or illicit activities.
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Earlier in February, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton stated that the SEC would be keeping a closer eye on companies who seek to “capitalize on the perceived promise” of a jump in stock value based on tacking the word ‘
blockchain’ onto their names (see: Long Island Iced Tea turned ‘Long Blockchain’.)
The States Aren’t So United on Crypto Regulation
Despite the increased efforts by the federal SEC, however, most US states have taken very limited actions to regulate cryptocurrency-related activities within their jurisdictions.
CoinTelegraph reported that the state senate of Arizona recently passed a bill that will allow cryptocurrencies to be used for government payments if it manages to be put into the books as law.
Wyoming in particular has taken a hands-off approach with the passing of a law that exempts tokens from any kind of securities regulation within the state as long as they manage to meet a short list of requirements.
Earlier this month, an additional bill was introduced in Wyoming that is slated to exempt cryptocurrencies from property taxes (if passed.)