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FINRA Requests That Firms Report Digital Asset Holdings




The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has released a notice requesting that investment firms disclose their involvement in cryptocurrencies.

On Friday, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released a regulatory notice advising that all member firms are to report all cryptocurrency dealings. FINRA is a self-regulatory US organization that oversees securities brokers and has the power to fine or ban securities law violators.

The notice states:

"FINRA is issuing this Notice to encourage each firm to promptly notify FINRA if it, or its associated persons or affiliates, currently engages, or intends to engage, in any activities related to digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and other virtual coins and tokens."

Firms are also required to continue updating FINRA on any new virtual currency dealings they engage in through July 31, 2019.

The notice is the most concrete action FINRA has yet taken regarding virtual currencies, although at least one notable cryptocurrency advocate has fallen afoul of the regulatory body. In April, Tezos co-founder Arthur Breitman was fined and barred from associating with broker-dealers for two years after allegedly making false statements about outside business activities when he worked for Morgan Stanley.

FINRA did request information about cryptocurrency holdings in its most recent Risk Control Assessment, an annual survey of member organizations' activities. It also released a few statements and investor alerts (such as those playfully titled: "Bitcoin: More than a Bit Risky" and "What Is a Blockchain, and Why Should I Care?"). But so far, the organization has not created any new rules for cryptocurrency.

Tim Prentiss

Tim Prentiss has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno. He lives in Reno with his daughter. In his spare time he writes songs and disassembles perfectly good electronic devices.

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