According to a Wall Street Journal report on Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been conducting a “sweeping probe” of the cryptocurrency initial coin offering market. As part of that effort, the commission has reportedly issued dozens of information requests and subpoenas and has instructed the targeted companies to treat ICOs like stocks and bonds.
The companies include at least one well-known firm, Overstock.com, which just acknowledged that its cryptocurrency activities are being scrutinized by the SEC. The company filed regulatory documents this week that revealed that its digital token offering has brought in $100 million from investors – though the company has yet to issue its cryptocurrency.
Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne acknowledged that his company had received an SEC request for information. He said, “It would have shocked me if we hadn’t gotten one.” The company claims that it has not received a subpoena but intends to fully cooperate with the SEC by providing the documents requested by the commission.
The company also noted that the existence of an investigation should not be considered an allegation that Overstock had done anything illegal:
“While the SEC is trying to determine whether there have been any violations of the federal securities laws, the investigation does not mean that the SEC has concluded that anyone has violated the law. Also, the investigation does not mean that the SEC has a negative opinion of any person, entity, or security.”