Nov 11, 2018

ICO guidance and other crypto news this week

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The industry got a big win with Colorado's election of congressman and blockchain tech advocate Jared Polis as its new governor, but that's not all the news this week.

Catch up quick: A Securities and Exchange Commission official says "plain English" guidance on initial coin offerings is coming; Bitfury raised $80 million in new funding; and the SEC could target more token exchanges after EtherDelta.

SEC official says 'plain English' guidance on ICOs is coming (CoinDesk)

  • Why it matters: Speaking at a conference in D.C. this week, William Hinman, the SEC's director of corporation finance, gave cryptocurrency industry the news it's been waiting for a long time. Despite a growing number of enforcement actions against fraudulent or otherwise illegal digital token sales and initial coin offerings, the agency has yet to spell out exactly what counts as a securities sale.

Bitfury raises $80 million in new funding (Bitfury)

  • Why it matters: The company, which sells cryptocurrency mining hardware, was reportedly considering an IPO, which would have made it the first of the industry in Europe. One of its competitors, Bitmain, filed to go public in late September and could raise up to $3 billion from the offering. And despite the initial coin offering mania of the last two years, it looks like more traditional businesses selling infrastructure tools are currently best suited for the public markets.

Expect the SEC to target more token exchanges after EtherDelta (CoinDesk)

  • Why it matters: EtherDelta is the first digital currency exchange the SEC has gone after, though chairman Jay Clayton has long voiced his concerns about their lack of protections for investors. Another notable aspect of EtherDelta is that it's a so-called "decentralized exchange," which uses distributed systems to create its exchange. The SEC’s action signals that these exchanges won't be spared, and the agency will figure out who to hold accountable.

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

7 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.