The US market would suffer considerably worse if the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had given its approval to "safe harbor" for initial coin offerings (ICOs), said SEC Commissioner, Caroline Crenshaw. She noted that ICOs and other cryptocurrency offerings raised billions from investors, however, most of these projects failed to deliver on their promises.
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"Had a safe harbor been in place during the Initial Coin Offering or ICO boom of 2017 and 2018, I think the results would have been even worse for investors and the markets," she said.
Crenshaw says there is a clear causal relationship between the ICO hype and the subsequent cryptocurrency market crash. She emphasized that once the ICO bubble burst, the price of bitcoin dropped significantly from a high of nearly $20,000 in December 2017, to under $4,000.
"I believe the ICO era excesses, the failure to register, failure to make robust risk disclosures, and failure to ensure fair markets free from manipulation, contributed to investor losses," she added.
The move comes after pro-crypto SEC Commissioner, Hester Peirce, released proposals designed to protect cryptocurrency purchasers. Peirce said she wanted to find a "balance between providing a manageable number of useful guideposts while maintaining sufficient flexibility for the facts and circumstances of each network to be considered in the analysis."
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