This is the One to Watch: Senate Banking Committee to Hold Hearing on Virtual Currencies. SEC Chair Jay Clayton and CFTC Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo to Testify

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will be holding a hearing on cryptocurrencies this Tuesday. Entitled, Virtual Currencies: The Oversight Role of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, this will be a Hearing to watch as both Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo will be testifying.

Recently, both the SEC and the CFTC have stepped up enforcement activities on cryptocurrencies – most importantly initial coin offerings (ICOs). While much of the regulatory action has been directed at outright acts of fraud, the regulatory agencies have been pointed in their statements that ICOs or tokens are pretty much all securities and must file for an appropriate exemption to sell these digital assets in the US. Both the CFTC and the SEC have created Cyber Units to specialize in enforcement activities.

In late January, Chair Clayton addressed ICOs in speech that included a stinging rebuke to ICO advisors – including securities attorneys that aid some of these offerings. The speech was followed by a joint Op-ed in by both Clayton and Giancarlo that declared their intent to “enforce rules that foster innovation while promoting market integrity and confidence.”

For cryptocurrency aficionados, this will be a hearing to watch.

The Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6, at 10AM. The proceedings will be live-streamed on the Committee’s website.

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