The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has brought cases against 56 companies dealing in the digital currency and blockchain space. In a report detailing the regulator’s accomplishments since May 2017, the SEC revealed it had brought 2,750 enforcement actions in total, obtaining over $14 billion in financial remedies.
The report stated that the watchdog had brought “56 cases involving ICOs, blockchain or distributed ledger technology, and/or digital assets since the July 2017 issuance of an investigative report regarding the offers and sales of digital assets.”
It added, “Among others, cases involved efforts to defraud investors through the use of digital asset securities as well as violations of the registration provisions of the federal securities laws in the offer and sale of digital asset securities.”
The SEC has reportedly halted 18 suspected frauds involving blockchain and digital currencies.
In that period, the SEC also stepped up its efforts to protect investors and companies against cyber threats by establishing the Cyber Unit. The unit, which falls under the Enforcement Division, was created in September 2017. One of its areas of mandate has been blockchain and digital currency-related enforcement actions.
The SEC’s enforcement actions against digital currency companies went up a notch following the issuance of the DAO report in July 2017. The report finally made it clear to digital currency issuers that they would fall under federal securities laws, giving the SEC mandate over the industry.
Other developments in that period include establishing the position of senior advisor for digital assets and innovation in 2018. Valerie A. Szczepanik currently holds the position, coordinating the SEC’s efforts regarding the application of securities laws to digital assets.
Still in 2018, the SEC also launched the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub). The hub has led public engagement on fintech issues and initiatives, including blockchain technology and digital assets.
As CoinGeek reported recently, illegal ICOs have been one of the SEC’s biggest targets, paying a quarter of all its fines and penalties in 2020. Telegram was the single biggest contributor, with its failed TON blockchain project costing the Russian company $1.2 billion. Others included Canadian messaging app Kik, blockchain ads startup BitClave and blockchain-powered online retailing platform Shopin.
See also: CoinGeek Live panel on the Future of Digital Asset Security & Custody
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