It’s not just the SEC which is concerned about the potential of ICOs to defraud investors. Adena Friendman, Nasdaq’s CEO, has added her voice to the chorus of financial luminaries warning investors to make sure that they really know what they’re doing before considering putting money into an ICO.
Speaking at the Future of Fintech conference and quoted by CNBC, Ms. Friedman said that if you have “no rules at all” and when companies can “just willy-nilly take people’s money and offer no information at all,” then that sounded a lot like “you’re taking advantage of people.”
Protecting “Auntie Mae in Iowa”
While anecdotally we might expect the typical ICO investor to be a relatively young man with some cryptocurrency experience, Ms. Friedman is concerned that first-time investors, like “Auntie Mae in Iowa” are bringing drawn into the space.
Whereas companies and banks are required by the SEC to furnish potential investors with the same information they would give to banks, “in [the] ICO space none of that is available,” and rather than savvy institutions investing in tokens, “it’s all being bought by retail.”
Ms. Friedman said that she had clear concerns over “the lack of transparency, oversight, and accountability that these companies have as they’re going out to raise capital through an ICO.“
Friedman has already stated that the ICO space is currently too immature for Nasdaq to consider launching a digital assets exchange. Instead it has decided to collaborate with Gemini, the New York exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron.
Due to the unregulated nature of the sector, Nasdaq, she said, was “more comfortable partnering with someone as opposed to becoming one of those markets.”