The SEC is reportedly investigating a number of ICOs

By Jon Russel for TC

The SEC is getting up close and personal with companies that have raised ICOs, according to a new report.

Citing sources, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the commission has “issued dozens of subpoenas and information requests” to tech companies that have held token sales and a number of advisors associated with them.

More specifically, it appears that the SEC is requesting details of sale structures and the pre-sale elements to them, which often include deep discounts for those investing large sums or committing to an ICO early on.

More than $6 billion was raised via ICOs, which are also known as token sales, in 2017, and a further $1 billion has been added to that tally in 2018 to date.

Bitcoin and crypto have traditionally been backed by libertarians, but there’s plenty of sensible arguments as to why regulating the space would be beneficial to all. Beyond helping those who invest, mechanisms to prevent scams or pyramid schemes such as BitConnect could lend credibility to token sale projects. Currently, the space is a wild west that allows anyone to raise money against a proposed project simply by publishing a whitepaper on the internet.

The SEC has tread carefully on ICOs. While it has taken action against a number of token sales, including the aforementioned BitConnect, MuncheeREcoin and DRC World, but it hasn’t released specific guidelines.

That said, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton did warn of the potential that ICOs are violating securities laws in December. Somewhat unexpectedly, a Senate hearing in early Februarystruck a more optimistic tone as Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo discussed what can be regulated, what should be regulated and how to do it.