The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued its second warning in a month to those investing in cryptocurrencies. In a statement earlier today, the governmental body advised those involved in the space to “exercise caution” with Bitcoin and other digital currencies. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, along with Commissioners Kara Stein and Michael Piwowar, said many companies hosting initial coin offerings were not doing so within compliance of federal and state securities regulations.
They went on to state that whilst legislators were attempting to keep pace with the rapidly evolving markets, policing them is difficult and thus investors must use their due diligence when deciding whether to get involved with crypto investments.
According to a report by Reuters, the Commissioners’ statement read:
“The SEC and state securities regulators are pursuing violations, but we again caution you that, if you lose money, there is a substantial risk that our efforts will not result in a recovery of your investment.”
As mentioned, today’s warning is the second from the SEC in less than a month. On Monday 11 December, Jay Clayton advised caution to those wishing to partake in initial coin offerings. The SEC Chairman’s statement came just hours after the Commission were forced to intervene in an ICO being held by a restaurant review application. The issue arose due to the company not registering as a security:
“A number of concerns have been raised regarding the cryptocurrency and ICO markets, including that … there is substantially less investor protection than in our traditional securities markets, with correspondingly greater opportunities for fraud and manipulation… If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, or if you are pressured to act quickly, please exercise extreme caution and be aware of the risk that your investment may be lost.”
Despite the frequency with which the SEC are issuing warnings surrounding the cryptocurrency space, the Commission seems much more concerned with initial coin offerings than it does with Bitcoin and existing digital currencies for now. The cautionary words should go without saying to anyone hoping to invest in anything.