A circular from the regulator’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy Monday focuses on “potential scams involving stock of companies claiming to be related to, or asserting they are engaging in” ICOs.
In the bulletin, the SEC highlights three reasons it could “suspend trading” for “public interest” if an ICO provider is found to have fallen short of the law.
“A lack of current, accurate, or adequate information about the company – for example, when a company has not filed any periodic reports for an extended period;
Questions about the accuracy of publicly available information, including in company press releases and reports, about the company’s current operational status and financial condition; or
Questions about trading in the stock, including trading by insiders, potential market manipulation, and the ability to clear and settle transactions in the stock.”
The update follows legislative clarifications from the SEC last month, in which it stated it would look at tokens on a case-by-case basis to establish whether or not each constitutes a security under its jurisdiction.
In an explicit nod to some of the more volatile tokens which have entered the market this year, the SEC references “pump-and-dump” methods as something investors should be wary of.
These “involve the effort to manipulate a stock’s share price or trading volume by touting the company’s stock through false and misleading statements to the marketplace,” it adds.
This week also saw Chinese authorities hint at possible full-on suspensions of ICOs if ongoing research finds them to present “large risk” by design.
The perspective is reminiscent of China’s approach to exchange regulation earlier this year, in which inspections also found discrepancies with the law, leading to a several-month shutdown for the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges.