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SEC Chair Optimistic on Catching ICO Criminals



The problem with ICOs is that its own nature makes it harder to catch fraudsters, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Jay Clayton appeared before the House Financial Services Committee during a session dedicated to the SEC. The event covered a range of topics, including a hack of the agency’s corporate filing system, EDGAR, last year.

Optimistic Jay

Clayton seemed to be ‘concerned’ about the risks of ICO frauds, he said:

“I’m cautiously optimistic about the division’s enforcement of this. They know this is a ripe area for pump-and-dump. Pump-and-dump – it’s actually easier here than it is in the penny stock area, because it’s all electronic, it’s all anonymous, [and] it’s harder to catch the bad guys at the end of the day.”

The SEC chair also said that the dangers of potential fraud could hamper wider adoption of the tech in capital markets.


Outside of the ICO use case – through which startups or other parties can issue cryptos in an effort to fund or bootstrap a new blockchain network – market operators have looked at the tech as potential replacements for existing trading and post-settlement systems.

“It’s going to be a lot harder to get the benefits of this kind of technology, technological advancement.”



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SEC, CFTC Crypto Meeting in the US




The Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) meeting recently took place today, Feb. 6. The written testimonies of Jay Clayton and J. Christopher Giancarlo, the chairmen of the SEC and the CFTC respectively, have now been released publicly.


SEC chairman Jay Clayton talked about the importance of distinguishing between ICOs as securities and non-securities.

Clayton said:

“Investors should understand that to date no ICOs have been registered with the SEC, and the SEC also has not approved for listing and trading any exchange-traded products (such as ETFs) holding cryptocurrencies or other assets related to cryptocurrencies. If any person today says otherwise, investors should be especially wary.”

A co-authored article in the Wall Street Journal showed both officials’ perspectives on the issue of cryptos, appearing during the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos last month.

During the event many politicians had a voice to talk about the importance of cryptocurrency regulations.

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UAE ICO Warning




UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) issued a document on Sunday, Feb. 4 to warn investors about the risks of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

UAE Warning


In the recently issued document, the SCA speaks about investors involved in ICO fundraising campaigns and say that they have to assume all the risks, related to the digital token-based fundraising activities which are not regulated by the UAE, therefore there can be no protection provided if any fraud were to ocurr.

The biggest risks pointed out by the SCA, are high volatility of ICOs on secondary markets, misleading or false details in ICO offerings, and common unawareness of potential costs and gains shared by investors

The SCA mentioned the huge risks of investing in foreign ICOs, stating that it may be a hard task to verify the proper regulatory compliance of these fundraisers and track the money invested as it leaves the UAE.

This is not the first time that the country’s government issues a warning for the safety of their its citizens about the risks of ICOs.

Back in October , 2017, Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) announced its new guidelines ICOs and cryptocurrencies.

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Blockchain News

Interview with Blockchain Expert Amber Baldet




In a recent interview with Quartz, expert Amber Baldet the “Madonna of blockchain” talked about knowing your worth, how the financial crisis gave her enough clarity to handle herself, and why now is the time to be a technologist.

Back in December she said:

“I sit in the middle. I’m a product person who knows about technology. Depending on the community I’m in, I wear different hats,”

Quartz: Baldet

What’s your big idea that other people aren’t thinking about or wouldn’t agree with? Why is it so important?

The financial industry has long been a consumer of open-source software, but is just beginning to share its own code with the world. Freely available, high-quality platforms built to meet the requirements of the most demanding banks in the world offer a tremendous opportunity to flatten the divide between first-world economies and everyone else.

Traditionally, most software is developed regionally, and a lack of global standardization isolates markets technically, even when people want to come together. By putting real money into first-class design and development, then “giving away” the result, we create huge opportunities for financial inclusion and business growth that more than pay for the initial investment.

Blockchain technology has been a catalyst for incumbent institutions to finally “get” the value of an open-source approach. We have an opportunity to either re-create walled gardens of the past or build a next-generation internet of value that changes how we connect in a way we haven’t seen since the rise of social media. It’s a very exciting time to be a technologist.  

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success?

I’m good at bouncing quickly between high-level abstractions and granular details, as well as transforming complex ideas to be relatable for diverse audiences. I also have what my mother refers to as an “acerbic wit.” This means that often when I give deeply technical talks, the feedback is, “Hilarious, I learned a lot!” And that’s the goal: to get people not just to listen, but to feel like they get it and are inspired to learn more, and ultimately get involved.

If you could make one change to help women at work, what would it be?

Anonymized salary transparency across the industry would make a huge difference in how underrepresented populations price themselves, as well as encourage fair play and competitive job markets.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The CEO of the first boutique sell-side firm I worked at was a quintessential old-school trader from Brooklyn. He once hung up the phone after a particularly heated conversation with a counter-party, pointed right at me and said, “Never apologize.”

“Never” is a strong word, but we have all heard that women often say “sorry” reflexively. Since then I’ve tried to apologize genuinely, and only when I mean it.


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