Good or Bad?
"The market is being chilled."
Issued by Mike Lempres, chief legal and risk officer at Coinbase, the statement captures the mood of the moment for crypto innovators in the U.S. as regulatory uncertainty and months of wanton market growth appear to be finally coming to a head.
Spurring the shift is that the SEC finally confirmed last week what had been long rumored, that it's investigating companies and startups associated with initial coin offerings (ICOs). In response, entrepreneurs are largely surrendering on the idea new cryptocurrencies created and sold to investors could be considered so-called "utility tokens," a term denoting a digital commodity meant to represent the share of a blockchain protocol.
Still, U.S. companies preparing to issue tokens as securities may not have an easier time reaching buyers. There's no registered broker-dealer capable of trading security tokens in the U.S. yet. And as multiple founders pointed out to CoinDesk, as issuers shift to issuing these tokens under a Regulation D exemption, most are still under the 12-month lock-up required by the rules.