SEC Institutes Cease And Desist Against Munchee, No Civil Penalty

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At 2:44pm last week, Bitcoin was trading at $11,983.

It's not the first timethe agencies have raised red flags over cryptocurrencies.Each agency hasissued investor alerts, bulletins and statements on initial coin offerings and digital currency investments.

Clayton also warned brokers of cryptocurrencies, saying they should ensure that their instruments do not undermine "Anti-Money Laundering" or "Know Your Customer" obligations.

SEC Institutes Cease And Desist Against Munchee, No Civil Penalty

The company still had references to the offering on its website Monday, including a link to its "new decentralized block-chain based food review and social platform".

But in a public statement, Clayton said none of these ICOs have registered with the SEC as securities (something like a stock, that represents the value of someone's investment), and told potential investors: "If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, or if you are pressured to act quickly, please exercise extreme caution and be aware of the risk that your investment may be lost". Munchee was looking to raise $15m to improve its iPhone app, and was planning to "buy and sell goods and services" using the tokens, according to the SEC. Because of these and other company activities, investors would have had a reasonable belief that their investment in tokens could generate a return on their investment.

Regulators around the world are becoming increasingly concerned with the popularity of ICOs.

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The news of Munchee's shutdown comes as a new report indicates that despite the number of ICOs coming to market continuing to surge, their failure rate is also rising. They expect European national competent authorities will examine the rapidly changing space before establishing consensus.

"A number of concerns have been raised regarding the cryptocurrency and ICO markets, including that, as they are now operating, there is substantially less investor protection than in our traditional securities markets, with correspondingly greater opportunities for fraud and manipulation", Clayton said on Monday, referring to the initial coin offering (ICO) market. At the time of this writing, Bitcoin is trading for around $17,000, and some believe it has a much higher ceiling.

However, SEC chairman Jay Clayton say that ICOs can be effective ways for entrepreneurs and others to raise funding, including for innovative projects. "As a result, risks can be amplified, including the risk that market regulators, such as the SEC, may not be able to effectively pursue bad actors or recover funds", Clayton added.

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With the price of bitcoin soaring in recent weeks, main street investors have been flocking to cryptocurrency exchanges in the hope of making a quick buck.

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