IEOs May Get In 'Trouble' for Not Following Regulations: SEC

Valerie Szczepanik, the Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovations at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has said that companies or organizations looking to raise funds via initial exchange offerings (IEO) must follow appropriate regulatory guidelines.

An IEO is a new type of crowdfunding model, which may be considered an improved version of the older initial coin offering (ICO) model. Although it’s still too early to accurately determine whether IEOs are more effective, when compared to ICOs, at raising capital for projects, the Bitfinex IEO has reportedly received $1 billion in funding within only ten days of its launch.

IEO Token Sales Must Follow Appropriate Regulatory Guidelines

Commenting on the current regulatory landscape, while attending the Consensus 2019 Conference on May 13th, 2019, Szczepanik stated that crypto or blockchain projects that are planning to list their IEO tokens must adhere to the relevant regulatory guidelines.

She also cautioned:

If they are not registered, they will find themselves in trouble in the US, if they have a US issuer or US buyers, if they are operating on the US market.

She further noted that firms that are looking to pay listing fees, in order to get their IEO tokens listed on exchanges should ensure that they complying with the relevant regulations. Szczepanik also mentioned that blockchain startups that are involved in broker-dealer type activities, such as finding buyers for issuers, must follow appropriate regulatory guidelines.

TokenLot Project Managers Ordered To Pay $417,000 In Fines

While speaking at Consensus, Szczepanik pointed out that TokenLot, a crypto broker-dealer managed by Eli L. Lewitt and Lenny Kugel, had been promoting its project as an “ICO superstore” (in September 2018). She added that TokenLot’s management had been “instructive in this regard.”

She also noted:

This was a platform that was assisting to bring buyers to ICOs [...] In that case, there was an enforcement action charging the platform with acting as a unregistered broker-dealer and participating in the distribution in violation of the registration provisions.

Last year, the SEC had accused both Kugel and Lewitt for breaking the law - as they had reportedly failed to properly register their business in the US. Although TokenLot’s management did not formally address SEC’s allegations, they did agree to pay $471,000 in fines for violating US financial regulations.

SEC Updates Regulations For Cryptoassets

In April 2019, the SEC had released an updated crypto regulatory framework, which was created by Szczepanik and Commissioner Bill Hinman. The new guidelines were drafted, in order to assist crypto industry participants in determining whether a digital asset can be considered an investment contract. In cases where a cryptoasset offering is deemed as an investment contract, then it must be regulated as a security, the new guidelines stated.

Opera Launches Blockchain, Cryptocurrency-Ready Browser for iOS

Opera Ltd., the company behind the Opera browser, has recently launched a new blockchain and cryptocurrency-ready browser for iOS, following the company’s addition of a built-in cryptocurrency wallet to its Android and PC browsers.

According to a press release shared with CryptoGlobe, the company’s Opera Touch browser for iOS features “crypto wallet integration and Web 3 support,” meaning users can interact with blockchain-based applications through it, as if they were using an extension like MetaMask. The company hinted at the move in March of this year.

The company touts it now offers browsers supporting blockchain-based applications and with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet in various operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, allowing users to “seamlessly interact with the next generation of Web 3 applications.”

Currently, the browser only supports ERC-20 tokens, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens, although the company has revealed earlier this year it’s looking to add support for TRON and multiple other blockchains within a  year.

Charles Hamel, Opera’s head of crypto, stated:

We believe that all modern browsers should integrate a crypto wallet. This will enable new business models to emerge on the web. Opera is the first browser to make using crypto on the Web seamless and easy. Following a strong demand from the crypto-community, we are now making this experience available on iOS.

In the press release the company added it believes the “web of today will be the interface to the decentralized web of tomorrow,” with cryptocurrencies being at its forefront. Along with the iOS release, the company announced it partnered with a decentralized-application (dApp) called Marble.Cards, which allows users to turn unique web pages into collectible cards on the blockchain, each being a non-fungible token.

The Opera touch browser itself has a user interface built to let users use large phone screens with ease, as it shifts the navigation towards the bottom of the screen and adds features that make it easy to share pages across devices.

Opera’s main Android browser is also its cryptocurrency-ready browser for the operating system, and it has made it easier for users to buy cryptocurrencies directly from their mobile phones.