A US Border patrol agent opens a gate on the fence along the Mexico border. Photo: Reuters/Tomas Bravo
A US Border patrol agent opens a gate on the fence along the Mexico border. Photo: Reuters/Tomas Bravo

One of the US government’s top financial regulators has said Washington’s on-going crackdown on fraudulent practice in the crypto-currency sector will only intensify.

“I’m protecting the integrity of the market,” said Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, who was once again addressing why all entities attempting to raise money via digital-token sales, so called “intial coin offerings” or “ICOs,” have to be treated the same by US regulators as firms selling traditional stock offerings.

“The behavior we see in this is pretty bad. We’ve got guys with bags of cash headed to the border. That’s not our securities market.”

Clayton, as reported by Bloomberg, was talking at a brokerage event in New York. “I am not going to change the way we approach the offering and trading of securities,” added the SEC Chairman, “as a result of the fact that you put it in the form of a token.”

Clayton’s latest statements, that follow a string of recent tough words and, increasingly, actions by a wide-ranging collection of US regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies, comes on the back of new data, from Morgan Stanley, that shows that while global interest in ICOs remains strong, the failure rate also remains high.

According to Morgan Stanley, while ICOs accounted for 78% of funds raised for blockchain related projects, in data taken between 2012 and 2018, a much higher proportion of these fail when compared to businesses that have followed conventional funding routes. First year failure rates, for venture capital-funded startups, sat at 25%. For ICO funded ones, that figures was 64%. Approximately 32% of ICOs that launched in 2017 have already failed. Collectively, these failed ICOs took $1.3 billion from investors.

Already this year the ICO total – more than $9 billion – has superseded the 2017 figure of $4 billion. These numbers have been boosted by Russian-facing app Telegram attracting $1.7 billion via an ICO and Hong Kong startup Block.one reportedly raising more than $4 billion with its year-long ICO process that closes today.

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