Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman recently claimed that initial coin offerings (ICOs) pose “serious risks” for retail investors. At the Future of Fintech conference in New York Wednesday, Friedman said,
“To make it no rules at all, when companies can just willy-nilly take people’s money and offer no information at all, with no governance, that sounds to me like you’re taking advantage of people,”
Friedman emphasized that ICO scam victims are usually beginner investors that have almost no access to information. According to Friedman, while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires firms to provide retail investors with the same data as banks in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), the ICO processes have “almost no oversight.”
“In ICO space none of that is available, and it’s all being bought by retail. …I have real concern on lack of transparency, oversight, and accountability that these companies have as they’re going out to raise capital through an ICO.”
While critical of ICOs, Friedman’s comments on cryptocurrencies as a wider asset class have been much more optimistic. In addition to theorizing that cryptocurrency is the “right next step” in the development of currency, she has said that Nasdaq is not adverse to becoming a cryptocurrency exchange at some point in the future.
Nasdaq has also licensed its platform surveillance technology to Gemini, a New York-based cryptocurrency exchange founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
“We feel more comfortable partnering with someone as opposed to becoming one of those markets — at this point because it is a completely unregulated market.”
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