SEC makes conflicting statements on ICOs, admits you should listen to neither

SEC contradicts itself on ICOs regulation. Nasdaq commits to bitcoin futures. Woman convicted for funding ISIS with bitcoin-laundered funds.

Ah, at last, some words of regulatory clarity for budding ICOs from the SEC bossman himself, Jay Clayton. If you’re an ICO, he says, you should “start with the assumption that you’re starting with a securities offering.”

Clayton’s advisory follows the SEC’s recent action against ICOs Paragon and Airfox, both of which were slapped with civil penalties—including fines of $250,000 each and requirements that they refund their investors—for failing to register their digital tokens as securities, because, possibly, they simply didn’t know they had to. But now they will.

Or maybe they er… won’t? William Hinman, the SEC’s director of corporate finance, contradicted Clayton, saying that “sufficiently decentralized” tokens—like Ethereum—passed muster as commodities and would incur no penalties. But then Clayton, rendering both Hinman’s and his own words pretty much redundant, said that SEC “staff statements are nonbinding and create no enforceable legal rights,” meaning all those articles with headlines like “SEC director SNEEZES the word ‘Bitcoin.’ ETFs confirmed??’” should be taken with a lot of salt.

Anyway, “nonbinding” or not, Clayton’s ominous declarations—compounded with the market downturn, which has forced ICOs to withdraw millions in ETH—will likely further stymie ICO growth until developers no longer have to comb through contradictory SEC statements to determine whether or not they’re criminals.

Nasdaq commits to bitcoin futures in spite of bear market

Despite the plummeting markets, New York exchange operator Nasdaq is reportedly still planning to drop a bitcoin futures trading platform by January next year. All it must do first is “satisfy the concerns of the US’s main swaps regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.”

Yay!

That’s literally it.

Woman who used bitcoin to fund ISIS convicted

Who could forget Zoobia Shahnaz, the 27-year-old Long Island resident who, in 2017, defrauded a bunch of credit card companies, laundered the funds through bitcoin, then wired them—around $150,000-worth—to ISIS.

There’s no “regulatory uncertainty” on this one, fellas. “Funding terrorists” tends to be viewed in rather black and white terms by legal professionals, particularly judges; Shahnaz has now pleaded guilty and faces 20 years in jail.

Shahnaz was first apprehended when she attempted to board a plane to Syria—by way of Pakistan—from JFK international airport. Her mistake was to carry enormous wads of cash around with her, which, at an airport, is tantamount to an open confession of “I fund terrorists.”

More embarrassing, ISIS are now losing. Call the SEC, Shahnaz—you might qualify for a refund.

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