After Coinbase officially submitted the listing application, the US SEC subordinate department issued a "warm reminder"


  • The review department under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will consider some problems when evaluating brokers and investment advisers in the field of digital asset securities.
  • The department pointed out that some companies failed to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.
  • Some companies engaged in cryptocurrency transactions may need to register as exchanges.

Nowadays, more and more people choose bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as alternative investment products. How to make customers access digital assets without legal risks is a problem that can not be ignored for brokers and investment consultants.


On Friday, the Division of Examinations, an independent employee office of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), released a "risk warning" report on digital asset securities, which detailed the compliance behaviors concerned by the SEC. The regulator is particularly worried that some brokers fail to comply with anti-money laundering regulations, and some running exchanges are not registered.

This "risk warning" is not like a red alert. On the contrary, it can let brokers and investors know which aspects will face scrutiny.

According to the report, the SEC review department in the United States pays attention to the following ways of dealing with investment advisers: adequate evaluation and risk management of investment portfolio, detailed keeping of account books and records, security management of digital assets and information disclosure to investors.

At the same time, the department specifically mentioned the regulatory compliance issues related to anti-money laundering, and the report wrote:

"The anonymity of some aspects of distributed ledger technology has brought special challenges to the strong implementation of anti-money laundering procedures."

The report mentioned that some companies made it impossible for regulators to check whether they were dealing with drug dealers, terrorists, and people on the "SDN List of the US Treasury Department".

In addition, in the section of "National Stock Exchange", the report suggests that some companies that are not registered with SEC may actually have trading behavior.

The report also wrote:

"The progress of distributed ledger technology has introduced innovative methods to promote the electronic trading of digital asset securities."

This sentence probably refers to decentralized exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken.

Exchange used to be the battleground of SEC in America. In 2018, the agency severely cracked down on the first token issuance (ICO), which allowed people to invest millions of dollars in new cryptocurrency companies in return for tokens.

Later that year, the agency imposed a fine of $400,000 on EtherDelta, an unregistered national stock exchange. It also shows that tokens based on Ethereum are unregistered securities. According to the logic of SEC in the United States, exchanges such as Coinbase and DEXes based on Ethereum are probably trading unregistered securities at present.


For many years, many people in the industry have been calling on the SEC of the United States to improve regulatory transparency and explain more clearly how they evaluate cryptocurrencies and determine whether they are securities.

Despite the complexity of the digital asset platform itself, American SEC mostly refers to HoweyTest in the 1940s.

Although this "risk warning" report is quite different from a comprehensive regulatory framework, it means that the regulators recognize the unique attributes of digital assets, and then it shows that cryptocurrencies are becoming the mainstream asset category.

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