A high-ranking official of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said crypto exchanges that facilitate initial exchange offerings (IEOs) could break American securities laws.
Speaking at the “Consensus 2019” blockchain conference in New York Monday afternoon, Valerie Szczepanik, the SEC’s senior advisor for digital assets and innovation, said cryptocurrency exchanges that facilitate token sales for a fee (in the U.S.) likely face legal problems “because they break the registration requirement for broker-dealers.”
According to Szczepanik, if crypto exchanges operating in the U.S. are to facilitate IEOs for a U.S. issuer or U.S. buyers, they have to follow the registration requirement for broker-dealers with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act or win licenses for alternative trading systems (ATS) or national securities exchanges. If not, they will find themselves in trouble, according to Szczepanik.
Szczepanik said, “Bringing buyers to the table for issuers was acting as a broker-dealer,” and cited TokenLot that was penalized last September for engaging in token sales without registration for broker-dealers. At the time, the SEC said in a statement that the TokenLot case would teach institutions dealing with digital asset securities how registration requirements for broker-dealers can be applied. TokenLot’s activities included marketing and sales promotion of digital assets, investor advisory and receipt of payment funds and proceeds payments for companies, according to the SEC. /email@example.com
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