SEC Official: Cryptocurrency Investment Funds Raise Questions

The head of the SEC's investment management office said the agency is weighing questions related to funds that plan to hold cryptocurrencies.

Dec 11, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:15 a.m. UTC

The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission's investment management office said the agency is weighing questions related to newly-registered funds that plan to hold cryptocurrencies.

Speaking at the ICI Securities Law Developments Conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Division of Investment Management director Dalia Blass offered some insight into how the agency – tasked with policing investment activity in the U.S. – is grappling with some of the issues posed by firms that are holding and investing wholly digitized assets.

"We also continue to think about new innovations in asset management. For example, we have seen several filings for registered funds that would hold cryptocurrency. As with any new product, there are questions to ask," Blass told attendees according to a transcript of her remarks.

Some of those open questions include how to differentiate different types of assets and whether sufficient information is being provided to prospective investors regarding the related risks.

Blass went on to say:

"How would these funds fit into the existing regulatory scheme? What regulatory structure or structures apply to the market for the underlying instrument? We will be discussing these questions with you as we work through these filings."

The comments come amid growing activity out of the SEC around blockchain, including its policing of initial coin offerings (ICOs) that involve U.S. investors. The agency charged a New York businessman with violating anti-fraud laws in September for allegedly launching fraudulent token sales. More recently, the SEC's new Cyber Unit moved to file fraud charges against the organizer of an ICO that had previously been the target of regulators in Canada.

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