by: Wayne Duggan, Benzinga Staff Writer
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a probe into the cryptocurrency market, issuing a flood of subpoenas to companies and advisors tied to digital currencies.
Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal the SEC is particularly interested in initial coin offerings, which are currently much less regulated that initial public stock offerings.
Cryptocurrency prices were unusually calm on Thursday morning. The price of bitcoin was up 2.2 percent to above $10,800. Prices of Ethereum and Ripple were also up less than 3 percent each.
Cryptocurrency investors have been on a wild ride in recent months. The price of bitcoin breached $19,000 back in December before plummeting to below $6,000 in early February on concerns of a global regulatory crackdown.
Earlier this week, BlackRock reported that the cryptocurrency market is more than twice as volatile as the stock market was during the peak of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. BlackRock global chief investment strategist Richard Turnill said cryptocurrency investors should be prepared for “potentially complete losses.”
“We don’t see them becoming part of mainstream investment portfolios soon,” Turnhill said.
In February, Goldman Sachs warned investors that most cryptocurrencies prices will eventually hit $0 because of their lack of intrinsic value.
Stocks To Watch
Overstock.com IncOSTK 4.22% is down more than 6 percent after confirming it's been subpoenaed by the SEC. Here’s a look at how some other popular cryptocurrency-related stocks, particularly with exposure to ICOs, were trading following news of the SEC probe:
- Riot Blockchain Inc RIOT 4.11% was down 3.8 percent.
- U.S. Global Investors, Inc. GROW 1.18% down 2.3 percent.
- Longfin Corp LFIN 1.53% down 0.25 percent.
- Social Reality Inc SRAX 6.54% down 3.4 percent.
- Eastman Kodak Company Common New KODK 3.58% down 2.7 percent.
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