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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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