US Regulators to Back More Oversight of Digital Currencies

Bitcoin dropped to $6583, lowest level since mid-November

Asked by federal lawmakers Tuesday whether they had enough authority to shield cryptocurrency investors from scams, market manipulation and abuse, top officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said that the agencies were still consulting with other USA officials but that they may need more legislative authority.

SEC chairman Jay Clayton, in response to Cotton's question, pointed to applications in the areas of data verification and record-keeping - i.e., using the technology to create distributed records of information - as particularly notable use cases. "Just a few coordinated sales can change the price".

The SEC will go after lawyers and firms that try to circumvent those rules, he said, although he did not clarify if the SEC would pursue ICOs that have already happened. The United States Senate is holding an important discussion that could eventually seal the fate for millions of investors, as well as numerous cryptocurrency exchanges, mining farms, and other stakeholders directly or indirectly linked to the digital currency market.

How or if the USA approach to regulation and oversight will change remains uncertain.

Bitcoin and other digital currencies have seen demand soar in recent weeks along with their value, accompanied by a rise in questionable investment scams that has prompted increased attention by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the main agencies overseeing US financial markets. He said that government should develop a positive outlook about cryptocurrencies. A currency? A security? Additionally, there will be a strong focus on potentially introducing additional regulation. Giancarlo even suggested that cryptocurrency's underlying technology, blockchain, could have helped avert the 2008 financial crisis by giving regulators the ability "to do real close market surveillance", in real time, of problematic transactions between lenders and borrowers.

As the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rose previous year, investors flocked to the largely unregulated assets.

"Super bullish news", wrote user jayjayzian.

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To put things into perspective, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has so far played a proactive role in acting against fraudulent ICOs and has repeatedly issued warnings against such malpractices.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) which carry a lot of resemblance with a stock offering.

Clayton said most appeared to be securities and that put them in the agency's "crosshairs".

"I hope people pursue it", he said. The currency surged more than 1,300 percent previous year.

The trouble with this for Clayton is that the parallels to IPOs may fool investors into thinking that they are protected by equal federal oversight.

Lawmakers on Tuesday are set to probe Giancarlo and Clayton on the powers of the SEC and CFTC to oversee cryptocurrency exchanges, how the watchdogs can protect investors from extreme volatility and fraud, and the risks posed by cybercriminals intent on stealing digital tokens.

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