US: Crypto Is Among SEC’s Top Examination Priorities for 2019

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Cryptocurrencies are one of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) top examination priorities this year, according to an official statement announced by the commission Dec. 20.

In the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) recent report, digital assets — specified as cryptocurrencies, coins and tokens — are included among the six “themes for OCIE’s 2019 Examination Priorities.”

The report states that the the office is planning to focus on monitoring the emerging market and enforcing compliance with existing laws:

“OCIE will continue to monitor the offer and sale, trading, and management of digital assets, and where the products are securities, examine for regulatory compliance.”

In terms of other goals of the office’s examination of crypto, the document also declares:

“In particular, through high level inquiries, OCIE will take steps to identify [cryptocurrency] market participants.”

The report states that the office will examine portfolio management of digital assets, trading, safety of client funds and assets, pricing of client portfolios, compliance and internal controls of crypto companies.

As Cointelegraph reported in December of last year, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has said that initial coin offerings (ICOs) “can be effective” but that “securities law must be followed.” Also, according to Clayton, ICOs operate in a way that grants substantially less investor protection than that of traditional equities and fixed income markets.

In October, the SEC reportedly launched the agency’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub). The hub aims to facilitate the SEC’s engagement in fintech-related fields, including distributed ledger technology and digital assets.

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