Lawyer Monthly: Here’s What The SEC Did NOT Say About ICO Enforcement

September 24, 2018

Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement (SEC) Division Co-Head Stephanie Avakian stated at an industry conference that the SEC’s approach to Initial Coin Offering (ICO) enforcement was intended both to prevent the “stifling” of innovation and to send a signal that that unregistered securities offerings and fraud would not be permitted. O’Melveny partner Ben Singer said, “what Ms. Avakian did not say, but which is widely known in enforcement circles, is that SEC enforcement staff are being inundated with referrals relating to ICOs. This has placed pressure on an enforcement staff that has been reduced, in some offices, substantially, by a hiring freeze and is dealing with the highly technical nature of these new products. Nevertheless, Ms. Avakian’s remarks, which echo recent statements from SEC leadership, show that ICOs are a top priority for SEC enforcement for the foreseeable future.” 

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