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.

Go deeper

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

America's future looks a lot like Nevada

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today's Nevada caucus will foreshadow the future of American politics well beyond 2020.

Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of a demographic transformation, and the country's future looks a lot like Nevada's present. Today's results, in addition to shaping the 2020 race, will help tell us where politics is headed in a rapidly changing country.