The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is vehemently opposed to a common crowdfunding practice in the cryptocurrency industry called the initial coin offering (ICO). An ICO is similar to an initial public offering where a company or corporation raises investment capital by offering its stock to the public for the first time. Only in an ICO, a digital currency or token is distributed instead of a stock, and the token can have a variety of uses that blur the line of what defines a traditional security.

Still, the SEC believes that the way ICOs are funded has them falling under security laws, and the companies interested in launching an initial coin offering need to comply with SEC private placement rules and investor protection guidelines. Those that fail to comply, may be subject to cease and desist letters in the future, as has happened with a number of US-based ICOs.

To further warn potential investors of the dangers initial coin offerings, the SEC has published a website on the increasingly popular capital raising method, providing what the SEC calls the “three ‘Rs’ of ICOs: Risks Rewards and Responsibilities.”

The website reads:

“Companies and individuals are increasingly considering initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a way to raise capital or participate in investment opportunities. While these digital assets and the technology behind them may present a new and efficient means for carrying out financial transactions, they also bring increased risk of fraud and manipulation because the markets for these assets are less regulated than traditional capital markets.’

The list of potential risks, rewards, and responsibilities is directed both at investors and potential ICO issuers and cover off on how initial coin offerings could be securities, may need to be registered with the SEC, or may pose “substantial risks.” To avoid those risks, the SEC warns investors to do their own research, ask questions, to understand the product, and to take extreme caution if and when an investment sounds “too good to be true.”

The SEC also takes the opportunity to warn would-be ICO issuers, asking them to “use caution before promoting offers and selling coins.”

A month ago, the SEC launched a fake ICO website called HoweyCoins.com to provide a working example of what a fraudulent ICO may look like. Investors who clicked on any of the fake site’s ‘buy now’ buttons, were redirected to educational materials on what red flags to look out for when considering investing in an ICO.

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Buy Bitcoin Now While It’s Still Cheap, Says Cryptocurrency Hedge-Fund Owner
In an interview by CNBC, Dan Morehead, founder of Pantera Capital Management said, “Cryptocurrencies are cheap right now. So it’s a good time to buy.” Bitcoin is down more than 50% from December 2017 highs.

More People Opening Crypto Trading Accounts In Brazil Than Traditional Securities
Forbes reports more people are opening cryptocurrency trading accounts in Brazil than traditional brokerage accounts and that “at least two new cryptocurrency exchanges are in the works.”

Bittrex Strikes Agreement With Bank To Offer USD Deposits and Trading Pairs
BlockExplorer’s Tony Spilotro says, “The Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has revealed that the firm has struck an agreement with a United States bank to allow some of its customers to trade cryptocurrencies in USD, along with making USD deposits to the exchange’s wallets.”

Could Blockchain Be The Missing Link In Electronic Voting?
A special feature by ZDNet explores the issues with the current means of casting votes and keeping votes safe. “Some say blockchain is the answer, but are they expecting too much?”

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Bitcoin Price Could Be In For A Boost As World Cup Fans Descend On Russia
Hotels in the Russia city of Kaliningrad — which will be playing host to some of the World Cup’s games — are accepting Bitcoin as payment. Forbes reports some airlines and travel agents, as well as bars will also be taking the cryptocurrency.

Bittrex Strikes Agreement With Bank To Offer USD Deposits and Trading Pairs
BlockExplorer’s own Tony Spilotro reports “The Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has revealed that the firm has struck an agreement with a United States bank to allow some of its customers to trade cryptocurrencies in USD, along with making USD deposits to the exchange’s wallets.”

The Humanitarian Side of Bitcoin
International Policy Digest has a thoughtful piece on how Bitcoin can help a socioeconomic crisis such as the one in Venezuela, a country actually going out of their way to ban Bitcoin. “Bitcoin, Blockchain and the whole host of other cryptocurrencies and related media have a real shot at not simply being the ‘next big thing’ as their acolytes incessantly seem to preach. They actually can help change lives for the better through circumventing oppressive state bureaucracies and structures in inspired acts of cryptocurrency-based agorism.”

Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee: LTC Network Extremely Secure, Mining Healthy
CryptoSlate says “Litecoin founder Charlie Lee has taken to Twitter to address community concerns regarding the Litecoin network sparked by a cryptocurrency security site that tracks the cost of launching a 51% attack against proof of work cryptocurrencies.”

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Hospital Launches Cryptocurrency Addiction Rehab Clinic
A Scottish hospital has launched a crypto rehab unit and by all accounts, the calls are flooding in. “Cryptocurrency users can get hooked by the volatile fluctuation of prices online which creates a ‘high’ when they buy or trade a winning currency,” said Castle Craig Hospital in a press release. “This can be exciting but also addictive and, like gambling addiction, can be financially disastrous.” MarketWatch features a 10 question survey for you to determine if you’re a pathological cryptocurrency addict.

Venezuela Bans Crypto Mining Rigs From Entering the Country
Despite the Venezuelan government embracing cryptocurrency with open arms, reports BlockExplorer’s Tony Spilotro, the country has taken a stand against cryptocurrency mining, going as far as to ban related computer equipment from entering the country.

Trading App Startup Taylor Says All Funds Have Been Stolen In Cyberattack
Taylor, a smart cryptocurrency trading assistant, was robbed of all of their funds, ZDNet reports.
The attack is said to have taken place on Tuesday of last week. In a Medium blog post, the Taylor team said “all of our funds have been stolen. Not only the balance in ETH (2,578.98 ETH) but also the TAY tokens from the Team and Bounty pools.”

Blockchain NW, Seattle’s First Crypto Conference, Begins Next Week
Seattle’s first blockchain conference begins Tuesday, June 5. The event will feature 50+ speakers who specialize in blockchain business and technology. Special to this event is a Blockchain career fair set up to match Pacific Northwest employers and employees. And if there was any doubt, tickets can be purchased with cryptocurrency.

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Despite the Venezuelan government embracing cryptocurrency with open arms – even launching their own oil-backed Petro cryptocurrency in an effort to solve the country’s economic crisis – according to a new report from local Venezuelan media, the country has taken a stand against cryptocurrency mining, outright banning related computer equipment from entering the country.

The report states that the Venezuelan government made a policy change at the end of April that restricts computer equipment such as GPUs or ASIC miners. Customs authorities have been seizing related devices received by air and sea since the change went into effect.

Shipping companies such as Liberty Express and DHL, who ship these mining devices to Venezuela on behalf of their customers, have either updated their pages on restricted products entering Venezuela to include mining equipment or have sent out notices to their customers notifying them of the changes to avoid any inconveniences they may experience as a result of the policy change.

The policy change has already gone into effect, but only on a temporary basis until officials from the National Association of Cryptocurrencies meet with the Superintendence of Cryptoactives and Related Venezuelan Activities to address the issue next week.

Weeks ago, Superintendent Carlos Vargas indicated that the country was evaluating authorizing companies to import digital mining equipment to sell in Venezuela:

“We are in an evaluation process to select and authorize companies that are qualified to import and market digital mining equipment and be responsible for the respective guarantees in our country.”

Vargas warned individuals mining cryptocurrency to be “prudent at the moment of acquiring the equipment since until now no company has been endorsed or certified,” by Venezuelan regulators.

Considering Vargas’ statement, the ban appears to be temporary until the government finalizes authorizing company’s to begin importing mining equipment for resale in Venezuela.