SEC warns against public companies adding blockchain to their name

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Everybody is aware of that each Essential Avenue and Wall Avenue traders are going gangbusters for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related know-how.

However right here’s the factor. It’s at the moment practically unimaginable to speculate instantly in cryptocurrency or in official cryptocurrency corporations if you wish to restrict your investments to SEC-sanctioned ETFs or shares which might be listed on NASDAQ or NYSE. So to capitalize on this provide and demand imbalance some small-cap public corporations are doing issues like “pivoting” to blockchain know-how and even simply altering their identify to one thing associated to crypto. And since some Essential Avenue traders don’t actually know higher and simply need to get a bit of the cryptocurrency craze they typically purchase inventory in these corporations considering they’re the actual deal.

So a number of days in the past SEC Chairman Jay Clayton issued a warning to those corporations whereas giving a speech on the Securities Regulation Institute.

Earlier than I transfer on to the subsequent matter I need to elevate another slender, distributed ledger or “blockchain”-related authorized difficulty by the use of a hypothetical. I doubt anybody on this viewers thinks it might be acceptable for a public firm with no significant observe file in pursuing the commercialization of distributed ledger or blockchain know-how to (1) begin to dabble in blockchain actions, (2) change its identify to one thing like “Blockchain-R-Us,” and (three) instantly supply securities, with out offering satisfactory disclosure to Essential Avenue traders about these modifications and the dangers concerned. The SEC is wanting carefully on the disclosures of public corporations that shift their enterprise fashions to capitalize on the perceived promise of distributed ledger know-how and whether or not the disclosures adjust to the securities legal guidelines, notably within the case of an providing. – SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

What sorts of issues is Chairman Clayton speaking about?

How about when beverage firm Lengthy Island Iced Tea modified its identify to Lengthy Blockchain Inc. and the inventory spiked 500% in a day. Or when Kodak’s inventory tripled after it introduced it’s launching an ICO. And the way about when one other small-cap spiked 2,000% after they purchased a cryptocurrency micro-lending startup (that’s by no means truly made a crypto-backed mortgage) that was 95% owned by the buying firm’s CEO.

Going ahead count on to see the SEC take a stronger stance in direction of public corporations that both shortly shift their identify of their enterprise or their whole enterprise technique to make the most of crypto and blockchain hype. And this can be a good factor. Many Essential Avenue traders don’t know sufficient about cryptocurrency to know what’s official know-how and what’s only a firm altering its identify to prop up its inventory. And the quicker we eliminate this fraudulent exercise the quicker we are able to get to a spot the place the SEC and different regulators will enable Essential Avenue traders to really make investments instantly in cryptocurrency and different promising blockchain know-how.

Disclosure: writer personal a small quantity of assorted cryptocurrencies. 

Featured Picture: Getty Photos

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