The volatility surrounding the cryptocurrency markets can be attributed to a number of factors. Hacked exchanges, bad reviews, missteps in the rollout of new features—all can affect the values. Another factor is investor insecurity stemming from the absence of governmental regulations. Investors and enthusiasts don’t know if authorities at some point are going to come out in favor or against digital currency, and this is worrisome to a large portion of the community. Perhaps—only perhaps—this will change somewhat in June, as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is planning on holding an investor conference at Georgia State University.
On June 13, the SEC will hold a “town hall” event at the university, inviting community members to engage in informal discussions with members of the agency. Topics from cryptocurrencies to FinTech, and virtually everything in between, will be open to discussion. According to a message regarding the event on the SEC website, “Meet the people who help make Wall Street work for Main Street. All five SEC Commissioners are coming to Atlanta to meet with you: young people, the military, urban and rural, those saving for retirement, and seniors—the diverse, the dynamic people of the southeast region.”
There is no doubt that the SEC has taken a strong stance against cryptocurrencies and, especially, initial coin offerings (ICO). However, it should be pointed out that their position isn’t necessarily one of being anti-crypto; rather, it’s one of anti-scams. The SEC has indicated that cryptocurrency could be a viable offering, but the agency wants to pull up the weeds by the roots, leaving only a neatly trimmed playing field.
An introduction of regulations could certainly help reduce the volatility and help the industry grow. Shane Brett, CEO of Gecko Governance, recently commented that institutional money is ready to be injected into cryptocurrency, but that the lack of regulatory oversight—the same oversight already used in virtually all investment industries—is keeping investors at bay. Gecko Governance is a company that has created tools to assist in regulatory compliance.
The town hall meeting could give the cryptocurrency industry much-needed information regarding where the SEC is headed with regulations. There are certainly a number of factors that need to be considered—recording of trades, audit-compliant systems, reporting guidelines, etc.—when establishing the regulatory parameters, and hopefully at least some details will be publicized during the meeting.
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