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Regulatory Review

Learn about regulations governing cryptocurrencies around the world with our Regulatory Review. We’ve gathered a timeline of the last three years in chronological order, with details such as what regulations went into effect when and in what countries.

Our team stays updated on what’s happening in the U.S. and internationally, so you can see the evolving landscape of crypto regulations, and how that is, in part, driving the security token industry. The information we gather is straight from the governing bodies such as the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) in the United States.

In addition to covering new regulations, we also keep track of and share regulatory actions and enforcement – for example, when a regulatory body such as the SEC shuts down a company. And we also cover regulatory directions provided by government officials through speeches, op-eds, or comments to the news media.

 

December 8th, 2018

The Securities Commission Malaysia and Bank Negara Malaysia announce that they will tighten scrutiny of ICOs via expanded rules which are intended to eradicate issues of money laundering and unfair trade practices. Read More »

 

December 4th, 2018

The Municipal Bureau of Finance’s bureau chief Huo Xuewen announces that security token fundraising is illegal. China also aims to ban airdrops. Read More »

 

December 4th, 2018

The Municipal Bureau of Finance’s bureau chief Huo Xuewen announces that security token fundraising is illegal. China also aims to ban airdrops. Read More »

 

December 3rd, 2018

United States Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio announces plans for federal government to regulate ICOs and cryptocurrencies. The goal of the bill is to classify tokens in their own asset class, thus exempting them from being classified as securities. Read More »

 

December 3rd, 2018

Japan’s Financial Services Agency prepares to enact regulations regarding ICOs. The new regulations will require registration with the FSA for businesses planning to offer their own cryptocurrencies. Read More »

 

November 29th, 2018

The SEC announces charges against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and DJ Khaled for failure to disclose payments they received to promote the Centra Tech Inc. ICO. Mayweather will have to pay upwards of $600,000 in fines, while Khaled will have to pay approximately $150,000. Both celebrities have agreed to not promote any digital securities for three years. Read More »

 

November 16th, 2018

Two ICOs, Airfox and Paragon Coin agree to settle SEC registration charges and will return funds to investors, register the tokens as securities, pay penalties and file reports periodically with the SEC. Both ICOs failed to register their offerings under federal securities laws. Read More »

 

November 15th, 2018

Maksim Zaslavskiy, pleads guilty to fraud involving the REcoin ICO offering. This is the first ICO fraud case to be prosecuted. Read More »

 

November 10th, 2018

The U.S. SEC tweets out “five things you need to know about ICOs” in order to remind investors of the potential risk of investing and that ICOs may fall under the umbrella of securities. Read More »

 

November 8th, 2018

Colorado’s Division of Securities of the U.S. State issues four cease-and-desist orders “directing the cessation of unregistered securities in the state of Colorado.” Read More »

 

November 8th, 2018

The SEC announces that charges against EtherDelta founder Zachary Coburn have been settled. Coburn was ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties and his cooperation was noted by the SEC. Read More »

 

November 4th, 2018

The SEC’s annual Enforcement Report is released. The report prominently features ICOs and addresses the SEC’s crackdown on the relatively new form of fundraising. Read More »

 

October 27, 2018

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission issues warnings against nine ICO and token offerings which are not accredited by the Thai SEC. They are warning investors to beware of fraudulent raises and ponzi schemes. Read More »

 

October 26, 2018

Taiwan’s securities regulatory agency announces that it will introduce a legal framework for ICOs. Taipei Times predicts that the regulations regarding tokens should be finalized by June 2019. Read More »

 

October 9, 2018

Austria’s Financial Market Authority issues guidelines regarding its views on ICOs from a financial regulatory perspective. The new guidelines are meant to give further clarification on crypto assets such as tokens and virtual currencies. The new guidelines address what constitutes an ICO, regulatory requirements that should be considered when launching an ICO, as well as a further explanation of the types of tokens. Read More »

 

October 8, 2018

The United Arab Emirates’ securities regulator announces that it will introduce ICOs next year as a viable source of fundraising. Read More »

 

September 27, 2018

The Capital Markets Board of Turkey issues statement that they do not regulate or supervise ICOs or companies utilizing blockchain technology, including cryptocurrencies and token offerings. Read More »

 

September 20, 2018

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission co-director Stephanie Avakian states in a speech that the SEC aims to recommend “more substantial remedies” against those ICOs are who fail to meet registeration requirements. Read More »

 

September 14, 2018

Gaws Miners’ CEO Homero Joshua Garza receives 21 month prison sentence for defrauding investors. Garza was also ordered to pay $9.2M USD in restitution related to the “creation and sale fo a cryptocurrency called PayCoin.” Read More »

 

September 12, 2018

A judge from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern of New York issues an order which confirms that a federal indictment against maksim Zaslavskiy for promoting digital tokens through an ICO, was adequately pled. Read More »

 

September 11, 2018

The SEC and FINRA each announced three “first of their kind” enforcements related to the digital token market. The actions targeted a token sale website for being unregistered broker-dealer, a digital asset hedge fund manager for failure to register as an investment company, and finally a complaint against a firm which violated federal security laws by offering a blockchain token as an unregistered security. Read More »

 

September 10, 2018

Plans were approved by the United Arab Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority to recognize ICOs as securities, as well as to increase regulation. Read More »

 

August 27, 2018

Gerald Rome, the Colorado Securities Commissioner, issues orders to three companies conducting unregistered ICOs. The three companies under investigation are Bionic Coin, Sybrelabs Ltd., and Global Pay Net. The Division of Securities, which is a task force created by Rome, are in charge of the investigations. Read More »

 

August 19, 2018

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority warns investors that they should not consider ICOs that promote SAFTS, or Simple Agreement for Future Tokens, as safe investments, nor does the promotion of a SAFT contract mean that the offering is compliant. Read More »

 

August 18, 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission announces “permanent officer-and-director and penny stock bars” against David T. Laurance, who is “the founder of a company who perpetrated a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) to fund oil exploration and drilling in California. Read More »

 

July 18, 2018

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission releases additional guidelines regarding compliance for ICOs and cryptocurrencies via Information Sheet 225. The new guidelines provide clarity on the legal status of ICOs, as well as other issues relating to ICOs such as social media promotion and disclosing of information. Read More »

 

July 11, 2018

The Gibraltar Stock Exchange announces plans to apply for an extension to its license from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. The extension would then allow the trading of security tokens on the GBX exchange. Read More »

 

July 10, 2018

FINRA, the Financial Regulation Authority, sends reminder urging firms to “consider all applicable federal and state laws, rules and regulations, including those of FINRA and the SEC.” The notice went on to say that firms should disclose involvement in cryptocurrency products and production. Read More »

 

July 5, 2018

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission announces that its ICO regulations will go into effect on July 16th. The regulations utilize a “two tier form vetting procedure” which requires applicants to pass a final SEC screening. Read More »

 

July 5, 2018

Delaware announces that the Delaware Blockchain Amendments “do not provide blanket authority for shares of stock of a Delaware corporation to be tokenized.” Read More »

 

July 1, 2018

Thailand unveils new Digital Asset Business Decree law which respectively defines cryptocurrencies and digital tokens as a “medium of exchanging goods” and “rights to participate in an investment or receive specific goods.” The new law also provides rules for exchanges, brokers and dealers, as well as a formalized process for ICOs. Read More »

 

June 14, 2018

The SEC announces it will not consider bitcoin or ether as securities. Read More »

 

June 14, 2018

Lithuania’s Ministry of Finance announces new guidelines for ICOs which address regulations, taxation, accounting and AML. Read More »

 

June 14, 2018

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission announces new regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Read More »

 

June 4, 2018

The SEC appoints Valerie Szczepanik to the position of associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and senior advisor for digital assets and innovation. Szczepanik’s role will be to “coordinate efforts across all SEC Divisions and Offices regarding the application of U.S. securities laws to emerging digital asset technologies and innovations, including initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies. Read More »

 

May 28, 2018

The Monetary Authority of Singapore warns 8 cryptocurrency exchanges that trading of tokens which are regarded as securities or futures contracts are not permitted without permission from the MAS. Read More »

 

May 22, 2018

Regulators in the US and Canada announced they have opened investigations into 70 cryptocurrencies and ICOs in a wide-ranging crackdown named “Operation Crypto Sweep. ” Read More »

Overstock.com’s company tZero and BOX Digital Markets announce plans to open the first regulated exchange for security tokens. Read More »

 

May 10, 2018

CPA Ontario urges chartered accountants to avoid “participating in unregulated cryptocurrency offerings” and to avoid any ICOs which don’t treat their tokens as securities. Read More »

 

May 3, 2018

SEC Commissioner Robert Jackson issues criticism of ICOs saying, “Investors are having a hard time telling the difference between investments and fraud…If you want to know what our markets would look like with no securities regulation, what it would look like if the SEC didn’t do its job? The answer is the ICO market. Read More »

 

May 1, 2018

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said Tuesday that it is taking aim at fraud in the initial coin offering (ICO) market. Read More »

 

April 28, 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives holds hearing regarding whether or not ICOs could be regulated with a “balanced approach.” Read More »

 

April 27, 2018

Bermuda House Assembly passes the Companies and Limited Liability Company Amendment Act 2018 (ICO Act) which, if approved by the Senate, will regulate all aspects of digital assets (including ICOs.) Read More »

 

April 26, 2018

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission announces that ICOs will be a key focus as it expands its guidance and regulations. Read More »

 

April 23, 2018

Gary Gensler, the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said that government officials should take a closer look at the largest coins by market capitalization, not just at tokens sold in ICOs. Ethereum’s Ether and Ripple’s XRP could probably be classified as securities, Gensler said. Read More »

Former CFTC Head Gary Gensler says that coins with high market capitalization, such as Ether and XRP, should be examined and possibly classified as securities.

 

April 20, 2018

SEC officials have filed fraud charges against a third “mastermind” in in Centra Tech's allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering. Read More »

Tezos cofounder Arthur Breitman is fined $20,000 by FINRA and is barred from broker-dealer interaction until 2020 due to a failure to disclose outside business activities. Read More »

 

April 9, 2018

The Ontario Securities Commission announces that platforms offering cryptocurrency trading must determine if they are a marketplace. The OSC went on to say that cryptocurrencies may qualify as securities. Read More »

 

April 3, 2018

Australia announces that Australian cryptocurrency exchanges are required to abide by anti-money laundering (AML) rules. Read More »

 

April 2, 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged two co-founders of Centra Tech Inc., a Miami startup, for orchestrating a fraudulent initial coin offering that raised more than $32 million from investors last year. Read More »

The SEC charges Michael Liberty, the founder of Mozido Inc., with defrauding investors of more than $48 million by tricking investors into investing in shell companies. Read More »

 

April 1, 2018

Russia’s Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications announces new set of regulations for ICOs. The new regulations state that companies conducting ICOs are required to guarantee that tokens can be bought back at a nominal price. Read More »

 

March 27, 2018

Massachusetts regulator orders the halting of five ICOs due to being unregistered securities. Read More »

 

March 13, 2018

South Korea reverses view on cryptocurrencies and announces it is working on creating policy guidelines for ICOs. Read More »

 

March 11, 2018

Tennessee government proposes bills to ban retirement funds from investing in cryptocurrencies. The state’s government also proposed bills that would legalize the use of blockchain for electronic transactions. Read More »

 

March 9, 2018

South Carolina lawmakers have requested that Genesis Mining, a cryptocurrency cloud mining platform, leave the state “due to selling unlicensed securities.” Read More »

The Praetorian Group files with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to hold the “first ever SEC-registered ICO.” Read More »

 

March 7, 2018

Japan’s Financial Services Agency issues punishment notices and business improvement orders to 7 cryptocurrency exchanges due to a lack of required internal control systems related to anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing. Read More »

The SEC publishes statement regarding cryptocurrency exchanges / online trading platforms that states that the mechanism for trading assets meets the definition of a security under federal securities laws. Read More »

 

March 6, 2018

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) published a letter Tuesday that indicates the U.S. agency will apply its regulations to those who conduct initial coin offerings (ICOs.

 

February 28, 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued dozens of subpoenas and information requests to technology companies and advisers involved in the red-hot market for cryptocurrencies, according to people familiar with the matter. Read More »

 

February 27, 2018

Malaysia announces that all cryptocurrency exchanges must verify identities of traders due to new AML legislation going into effect. Read More »

 

February 26, 2018

A cease-and-desist letter is issued by the Texas State Securities Board to Leadinvest.com due to accusations of fraudulently selling unlicensed securities. Read More »

The Israeli Supreme Court decides that banks must allow crypto trading and may not prohibit company accounts associated with the industry. Read More »

 

February 19, 2018

Israel announces it will tax cryptocurrencies as property. Individuals will not have to pay the value-added tax, however businesses will. Read More »

 

February 16, 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspends trading in three companies amid questions surrounding similar statements they made about the acquisition of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related assets. Read More »

 

February 13, 2018

The U.S. Treasury releases letter stating that companies must report suspicious transactions to authorities in order to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism.

 

February 12, 2018

Thailand's central bank prohibits financial institutions from investing or trading cryptocurrency, offering cryptocurrency exchanges, and creating cryptocurrency based platforms. Banks are also banned from allowing credit card transactions to buy cryptocurrencies. Read More »

Russia's Ministry of Communications unveils new licensing rules for ICOs. New regulations include a required $1.7M nominal capital, specific licensed bank accounts, as well as a license for the development, production, and issuance of tokens. Read More »

European Supervisory Authority warns customers that virtual currencies (cryptocurrencies) are highly risky, not backed by tangible assets and unregulated under EU law. Read More »

China's National Internet Finance Association (NIFA) announces plans to increase oversight of ICOs and cryptocurrencies. Read More »

Gibraltar officials look to develop regulations and a framework for companies utilizing ICOs. Read More »

 

February 9, 2018

Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission alerts investors to the potential risks of dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges and investing in ICOs. Read More »

 

February 5, 2018

China announces plans to cut off internet access for citizens to sites which trade cryptocurrency and permit ICO investments. Read More »

 

February 4, 2018

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issues a warning regarding the risk of investing in ICOs, advising that legal protection is not available since the agency doesn't regulate ICOs. Read More »

 

January 28, 2018

The Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commission announced it is crafting rules to regulate cryptocurrency transactions to protect investors and reduce the risk of fraud. Read More »

 

January 25, 2018

Wyoming lawmakers propose bill that would exempt creators and sellers of utility tokens from securities regulations. Read More »

South Korea announces plans to create a task force to oversee local cryptocurrency exchanges and enforce compliance with regulations for cryptocurrency-based businesses. Read More »

 

January 21, 2018

India's top banks suspend and severely limit functions of Bitcoin exchange accounts. Read More »

 

January 19, 2018

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) targets two allegedly fraudulent cryptocurrency investment schemes with lawsuits. Read More »

 

January 18, 2018

Bermuda Monetary Authority issues statement regarding the risks of ICOs which warns investors about the lack of investor protections in the unregulated space. Read More »

 

January 17, 2018

Israel's Tax Authority publishes a draft circular addressing the possibility of taxing ICO profits. Read More »

 

January 15, 2018

China's National Internet Finance Association (NIFA), a self-regulatory organization in the field of Internet finance, issues a warning against risks from the so-called "initial miner offerings" (IMO). NIFA claimed in a statement that IMOs are disguised initial coin offerings (ICO), which are completely banned in the China. The warning is in compliance with the Notice on ICO issued by the Chinese government in September, 2017. Read More »

Bank Indonesia teams up with the National Police to enforce Indonesia's ban on cryptocurrencies. Police announce they will target Bali. Indonesia's ban on cryptocurrencies require that all transactions be made in Rupiah. Read More »

 

January 9, 2018

The Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commission warns investors to exercise caution when invited to participate in initial coin offerings (ICOs) involving cryptocurrencies. Read More »

The Swiss government announces support for Taskforce Blockchain, a new group which will review legal guidelines for blockchain companies. Read More »

 

January 8, 2018

The Swiss Crypto Valley Association unveils code of conduct for ICOs. Read More »

 

January 4, 2018

The SEC announces it will begin cracking down on suspicious cryptocurrencies. Read More »

The NASAA reminds investors to be cautious of cryptocurrency investments, while also having previously identified ICOs as emerging investor threats last month. Read More »

 

December 27, 2017

A new bill that would limit the raises of ICOs to a maximum of $17.3 million USD, as well as limit the individual investment amount per person to $864, has been proposed by the Russian Ministry of Finance. Read More »

 

December 21, 2017

The SEC announces it will begin cracking down on suspicious cryptocurrencies. Read More »

Russia announces plans to regulate cryptocurrencies by imposing limits on investment amounts in ICOs. Read More »

The Caribbean nation of Anguilla proposes the AUTO Act which would aim to register and monitor ICOs while at the same time avoid securities regulations. Read More »

 

December 15, 2017

UK watchdog Financial Conduct Authority announces it will take closer look at ICOs to determine if more regulations are needed to protect retail consumers. Read More »

 

December 11, 2017

Bitcoin futures begin trading on Chicago’s Cboe Global Market. Read More »

The SEC halts the Munchee ICO due to it being unregistered securities offering. Read More »

SEC issues statement regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs addressing considerations main street investors and market professionals should review before investing. Read More »

 

December 7, 2017

The Financial Services of Korea bans bitcoin futures trading by securities firms.

 

December 4, 2017

The SEC filed the first-ever charges against an ICO. An emergency asset freeze was enacted against Canadian company PlexCorps. Read More »

 

November 22, 2017

The Royal Bank of Zimbabwe announces that Bitcoin is illegal and would not allow its use in Zimbabwe. Read More »

 

November 17, 2017

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), announces plans launch the first ICO regulated ICO token exchange in January 2018 pending regulatory approval.

 

November 15, 2017

The government of Anguilla announced plans for cryptocurrency regulations regarding the registration of ICOs. The AUTO Act, or the Anguilla Utility Token Act, is the world’s first registration regulations for ICOs. Read More »

The Financial Conduct Authority, a British regulator, issued a warning stating that CFDs (cryptocurrency contracts for differences) are high-risk investments and warned investors against investing in them. Read More »

Singapore issued new guidelines on ICOs which outline securities laws and their relations to token sales. Read More »

 

November 14, 2017

India announces plans to develop regulations for Bitcoin and ICOs. Read More »

 

November 13, 2017

The European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA) issued a statement on ICOs. ESMA alerted ICO firms to meet relevant regulatory requirements, as well as to adhere to their obligations under EU regulation. ESMA also warned investors about the risks of investing in ICOs. Read More »

 

November 9, 2017

The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany, also known as BaFin, issued a warning to investors about the risk of investing in ICOs. Read More »

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said so-called initial coin offerings in many cases looked like securities, raising the prospect the agency will take a more aggressive stance to this red-hot fundraising method.

 

November 1, 2017

The United States SEC issued a statement on potentially unlawful promotion of ICOs by celebrities. Read More »

 

October 27, 2017

New Zealand's FMA claimed that any digital currency or ICO-obtained token would be considered as a security. The finance regulator also explained the various means in which token sales will be covered under the country’s national law.

 

October 11, 2017

Lithuania's Central Bank publishes new ICO guidelines and states that financial institutions must distance themselves from ICOs and ICO activity. Read More »

 

October 9, 2017

Abu Dhabi global market sets out guidance on ICOs and virtual currencies. Read More »

 

September 29, 2017

Australia's ASIC announces its intent to assist businesses to understand their potential obligations under the Corporations Act by issuing guidance over ICOs. Read More »

South Korea bans raising money through ICOs and token sales. Read More »

 

September 27, 2017

Macau's top financial regulator orders all banks and payment services to not provide services for ICOs and cryptocurrencies. Read More »

 

September 13, 2017

Japan announces plans to introduce oversight on virtual currency exchanges. Read More »

 

September 12, 2017

In the UK, the FCA issues a stern warning over investing in ICOs. Read More »

 

September 5, 2017

Similar to the US, Hong Kong says that ICOs are subject to the securities laws per Hong Kong regulators.Read More »

 

September 4, 2017

China institutes ICO and token ban. Tokens sold as securities are subject to securities laws in China. Companies who have sold ICO tokens to Chinese investors are directed to refund that money. Read More »

South Korean regulators introduce new regulations on domestic trading of digital currencies. Read More »

 

August 24, 2017

Canadian regulators decide that many ICOs are considered securities under Canadian securities law. Read More »

 

August 11, 2017

The National Bank of Ukraine announces it cannot recognize cryptocurrency as currency and also warns about the risks of fraud in ICOs. Read More »

 

August 4, 2017

South Korean regulators give a break to fintech companies using Bitcoin for currency transfers. Read More »

 

August 1, 2017

In a similar statement to the US, Singapore announces that ICOs and token sales will be regulated by the MAS if the digital tokens are products that are regulated under the Securities and Futures Act. Read More »

 

July 27, 2017

Thailand announces that ICOs issuing tokens will fall under regulatory jurisdiction of SEC Thailand. Read More »

The Bank of Indonesia says ICOs will not be legally recognized in the country.

 

July 26, 2017

In the United States, the SEC rules some ICOs are indeed securities and must follow specific laws, and issues guidance for investors. Read More »

 

July 22, 2017

Gibraltar announces that ICOs are to come under regulatory oversight in January 2018. Read More »

 

July 21, 2017

Switzerland and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority informally voices support for blockchain developments and begins looking into ICOs. FINMA also closes down fake currencies. Read More »

 

June 20, 2017

Russia prepares to officially legalize ICOs. Read More »

 

June 9, 2017

CoinDesk reports that for the first time, blockchain enpreneurs raised more in ICOs ($327M) than through traditional venture capital funding ($295M) during a similar time period (Jan-June 2017).

 

June 2016

The DAO code is exploited to steal $50M worth of ETH, causing the collapse of the DAO; however, the success of the DAO token crowdsale does not go unnoticed.

 

May 2016

The Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is launched; approx. $150M in DAO tokens are sold in a 28-day crowdsale.

 

Q4 2015

The Swiss financial market regulator (FINMA) announces guidance that is seen as an encouragement to innovate with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

 

July 30, 2015

Ethereum goes live; an earlier crowdsale in July-August 2014 sold 11.9 million coins, called Ether (ETH), to purchasers using bitcoin (BTC).

 

March 17, 2015

Isle of Man issues regulations for Bitcoin businesses.

 

Q4 2015

Swiss law firm MME, together with Ethereum, blockchain startup Monetas, and the Zug Economic Development Office form a crypto-technology cluster in the Swiss Canton of Zug, calling the initiative Crypto Valley.

 

July 31, 2013

The first ICO is launched called Mastercoin.