During a recently held CNBC “Squawk Box” interview, a member of the House Financial Services Committee of the US House of Representatives Warren Davidson expressed views to the effect that initial coin offering (ICO) requires a regulatory  framework that has a “light touch” and provides certainty. Davidson stated: “We want to make sure that the United States’ capital markets stay strong and vibrant, and one of the ways to do that is provide regulatory certainty.”

 

Davidson expressed the need for consumer protection whiles affording the market opportunities to offer the many benefits associated with distributed ledger technology (DLT) on a continues basis. He also stated that there had been close collaborations among key players, notably government officials, cryptocurrency industry players and industry regulators aimed at shaping the regulatory framework.

 

The law maker also expressed concerns over the possibility for “regulatory Arbitrage.” Davidson stated: “There has been fraud in the markets. We have to protect consumers.” The House Rep further noted: “Right now there’s a concern that there’s regulatory arbitrage going on, where launching an initial public offering is more complicated and expensive, and essentially companies are doing white papers instead of securities offerings, and they are essentially selling securities. This has driven concern about fraud.”

 

While making reference to guidelines issued by the Swiss financial authority (FINMA) on February 16, 2018, Davidson pointed out the need for the United States to make laws that make ICO compliance much easier. He asserted that the regulatory framework the Swiss have made operational provides “certainties” for ICOs.

 

The US House Representative noted: “Blockchain is truly transformative, perhaps in a way the Internet was, in terms of how the distributed ledger can be applied to a broad range of technologies. And so that’s why you don’t really know when somebody does an initial coin offering whether they’re really launching this great distributed ledger project that is going to be a security or if it looks a little different, like Ether and bitcoin have been determined to be, essentially commodities.”

 

Is cryptocurrency traceable?

The law maker also insisted that cryptocurrency is traceable. He went so far as saying it is much more traceable than physical money. This was in response to a question posed about the frequent use of cryptocurrency for illegal activities. He cited the progress that was made in the Mt. Gox Case as one of the indicators that cryptocurrency transactions can indeed be traceable. He insisted that it was possible for trace-ability to be integrated into digital currencies.

 

Regulating ICOs around the globe

Reports suggest that many governments across the globe are having issues enacting relevant laws to regulate ICOs whiles some countries such as Pakistan and China have banned ICOs altogether.

A recent announcement was made by Thailand`s Securities and Exchange Commission that pointed to far advanced plans to approve five ICOs in June, 2018. The agency has stated that consideration will be given to ICO projects that can both be vetted and have commercial attributes.

Some ICOs were compelled by Australia`s Securities and Investments Commission to do one of two things; either halt or amend their offerings.

 

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Image from Politico.

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