Operation Cryptosweep results in 47 enforcement actions related to cryptocurrencies and ICOs

Maria Nikolova

The North American Securities Administrators Association has updated on the progress of “Operation Cryptosweep” targeting cryptocurrency-related fraud.

About four months after the start of “Operation Cryptosweep”, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has provided an update on the progress of the efforts of state and provincial securities regulators in the United States and Canada to put an end to cryptocurrency fraud.

In an announcement published earlier today, NASAA said that over 200 active investigations of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency-related investment products are currently underway by regulators in the United States and Canada as part of “Operation Cryptosweep.”

Since its launch in May, this campaign has led to 47 enforcement actions involving ICOs or cryptocurrency-related investment products. In late May, the number of such actions was 35.

In July, for instance, the Texan securities authorities took emergency action to stop a network of companies from fraudulently offering cryptocurrency investments to Texas residents. The Emergency Cease and Desist Order named three companies Mintage Mining LLC, Symatri LLC, and NUI Social. The order alleges numerous violations of the Texas Securities Act by all the entities and individuals mentioned in the document.

“State and provincial securities regulators are committing significant regulatory resources to protect investors from financial harm involving fraudulent ICOs and cryptocurrency-related investment products and also are raising awareness among industry participants of their regulatory responsibilities,” said NASAA President and Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph P. Borg.

Borg stressed that whereas some of the enforcement investigations initiated as part of Operation Cryptosweep involve suspected securities fraud, regulators are finding many other potential violations of state and provincial securities laws, including failure to properly register a product before it was offered to investors.

If these products qualify as securities, they should be registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies or qualify for an exemption from registration. The registration process provides some protection for investors by subjecting the offering to regulatory review. But even registered offerings can be fraudulent, so investors are advised to conduct diligent checks.

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