NEW YORK (Reuters) – A global regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies created by startups to finance new projects could slow the pace of virtual currency sales as questions mount about their transparency and the risk of scams for investors.
More than 500 digital technology startups around the world have raised funds by selling their own cryptocurrencies, or tokens, that sidestep banks or venture capital firms as intermediaries.
Investment - Market - Launch - Bitcoin - Tokens
The huge investment in the largely unregulated market, which began in 2009 with the launch of bitcoin and includes more than 1,200 tokens, has turned the financial world on its heels, especially as a stunning bitcoin rally in 2017 attracted speculators and stoked concerns about a bubble.
Regulators around the world, led by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, have responded with rules or guidelines that are giving investors pause and delaying new offerings.
Analysts - Respite - Market - Control
Analysts welcomed the respite, saying the market had spiraled out of control.
“We believe that regulation in the ICO space will filter out some of the nonsense in the marketplace and is part of the overall maturing of the crypto asset class,” said Sam Lee, director of research at ICO advisory firm Strategic Coin in New York.
SEC - Companies - Funds - Investors - Cash
The SEC has cracked down on companies that have fraudulently solicited funds from investors claiming to invest the cash in virtual currencies or ICOs and sent several subpoenas to companies that raised large amounts of cash.
Overstock.com disclosed in a filing that the SEC was investigating its recent cryptocurrency offering.
Countries - China - South - Korea - ICOS
Countries such as China and South Korea have banned ICOS.
“I am incredibly bullish on ICOs in the long term, but in the short term, this technology got ahead of itself and people got greedy,” said Bart Stephens, co-founder and managing partner of venture capital firm Blockchain Capital in San Francisco, which has invested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain companies.
Blockhain - Bitcoin
Blockhain, which underpins bitcoin...
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