The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed in its annual report that it brought enforcement actions upon more than a dozen digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the fiscal year that ended September 30.
“In just a few years, the prevalence of crypto-asset offerings, including ICOs, has exploded,” according to the report. “But exuberance around these markets can sometimes obscure the fact that these offerings are often high-risk investments. For instance, the issuers may lack established track records, viable products, business models, or the capacity for safeguarding digital assets from theft by hackers. And some of the offerings are simply outright frauds cloaked in the veneer of emerging technology.”
At least three of the sales raised more than a combined $68 million from investors before being shut down.
The SEC Division of Enforcement also noted that its new cyber unit has helped it expand its focus on cyber-related misconduct. As a result, “the Commission brought 20 standalone cases, including those cases involving ICOs and digital assets,” and by the end of the fiscal year, “the Division had more than 225 cyber-related investigations ongoing.”
In other news, an industry report has revealed that Israeli startups have brought in more than $600 million in funding from ICOs in the first three quarters of 2018.
According to Coindesk, One Alpha found that 140 active blockchain-related companies in Israel received $1.3 billion worth of investments. “More than 60% of the companies and 88% of the funds are ICO-related,” the report noted.
“Israelis are less than 0.1 percent of global population while making 3 to 5 percent of global ICO fundraising — that amount is definitely something that shows that Israel is one of the most important countries in terms of blockchain innovation,” said Yaniv Feldman, CEO of One Alpha.
And New Zealand private bank ASB has launched a shipment of meat from its home country to South Korea through the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT).
“This is a significant new chapter in the history of New Zealand sharing our products with the rest of the world. We’re proud to be one step ahead progressing New Zealand’s single trade window and excited to be using blockchain technology to digitize and improve the trade process for our customers,” ASB’s GM of global transaction banking Greg Beehre said in a press release.
The firm added that it will focus next on completing a trade via airfreight, with participants announced in coming weeks.