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US SEC rep reiterates wish to police ICOs like stocks and securities

More SEC guidance is likely in the pipeline to police “Wild West” crypto market.

US financial authorities have once-again repeated their view that cryptocurrency trading needs to be looked at with the same regulatory eye that oversees share trading. The view, from the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s trading and markets division, Brett Redfearn, came after he characterised the current cryptocurrency market as resembling the “Wild West”.

Speaking at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation [] Fintech Symposium in New York last week, Redfearn admitted, however, that he – and thus, you’d suspect, the SEC itself – is “not sure if all the rules would transfer over”. He did, however, confirm that the SEC enforcers are “very busy” looking at recent ICOs.

We’ve covered in-depth the issues that his organisation has with cryptocurrencies and, more specifically, ICO’s. SEC Chairman, Jay Clayton, has gone on the record several times saying that he considers ICOs to be securities, which should be subject to the same rules as traditional stocks and shares.

Reuters [] quotes Redfearn as expanding on that view by opining that “There are no registered exchanges, there are no registered ATSs (Alternative Trading Venues) trading any of these products,” before adding, “that is a very big concern for us”.

Further to this, he went on to say that while startups in the market often come to the SEC intent on doing things correctly, many simply don’t follow up on that good intention. “You ask them if they have registered as an exchange, ATS, broker-dealer, or a transfer agent,” he said, “and they will often say ‘We have not done or started that yet’.”

The first real guidance from the SEC came early in March, but Redfearn expects more soon. “This space is moving and evolving so fast, I cannot think that these would be the final words,” he concluded.