‘Operation Cryptosweep’ investigating 200 ICOs and digital investments
The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), a joint venture between US and Canadian regulators, said it had opened investigations into more than 200 initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other digital investment products.
NASAA was launched in May and its investigation, known as “Operation Cryptosweep” has already issued 47 cease and desist orders against sham ICOs and companies offering other fraudulent investments across the US and Canada.
Texas appeared to be a hotspot, where 11 enforcement actions have been levied by state regulators who uncovered a “staggering” amount of illegal activity in the cryptocurrency space – including ICOs and boiler room operations offering investment in crypto mining firms.
NASAA president Joseph Borg said: “State and provincial securities regulators are committing significant regulatory resources to protect investors from financial harm involving fraudulent ICOs and cryptocurrency-related investment products and also are raising awareness among industry participants of their regulatory responsibilities.”
He added: “While not every ICO or cryptocurrency-related investment is a fraud, it is important for individuals and firms selling these products to be mindful that they are not doing so in a vacuum; state and provincial laws or regulations may apply, especially securities laws.”
Jay Clayton, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, has been among the most vocal in his praise for the work of NASAA.
He said in a statement earlier this year: “The enforcement actions being announced by NASAA should be a strong warning to would-be fraudsters in this space that many sets of eyes are watching, and that regulators are co-ordinating on an international level to take strong actions to deter and stop fraud.”