As cryptocurrencies pique the interest of investors and entrepreneurs in search of fundraising vehicles, they’re also piquing the interest of another group of individuals: officials at the SEC.
Unregulated, wild west landscapes don’t stay wild forever, and since cryptocurrencies have the potential to leave investors stranded and/or defrauded, cryptocurrency investigations are now high on the list of SEC priorities.
Because of the rampant speculation, “pump and dump” tactics and sometimes outright fraud that has taken place in the crypto currency arena, even the most well-thought out and compliant crypto currency offering may well be subject to scrutiny and inspection.
Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, knowingly or unknowingly, it’s possible that you may be contacted by the SEC and asked to stop your ICO, answer questions about it, or put it on hold. Specifically, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations will likely be increasing its contacts with those who offer ICOs and also with brokers, dealers, financial advisors and even attorneys who may be pushing their clients toward these products without fully understanding the mechanisms and risks.
Regulators, investigators and policy makers are still trying to understand and form sound opinions related to crypto currency and what it means for the future of American commerce. If you truly believe in the future of cryptocurrency (and you believe that the future of your company depends on it), don’t obstruct progress. Don’t stand up for or side with bad actors. Turn yourself and your company into advocates for better understanding, stronger protections against criminality, and a world in which cryptocurrency is safe, dependable, sustainable, and commonplace. Make sure your words and actions represent a force for good, not a cover for those who wish to do harm without accountability.