On January 18, 2018, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Board published a cautionary note about initial coin offerings (token offerings).
"There are clear risks associated with these offerings. ICOs are highly speculative investments in which investors are putting their entire invested capital at risk," they wrote. "While some operators are providing legitimate investment opportunities to fund projects or businesses, the increased targeting of ICOs to retail investors through online distribution channels by parties often located outside an investor's home jurisdiction -- which may not be subject to regulation or may be operating illegally in violation of existing laws -- raises investor protection concerns."
As the "leading international policy forum for securities regulators and … global standard setter for securities regulation," IOSCO is a critical group in the financial world, and its members collectively regulative more than 95 percent of the world's securities markets.
The board added:
"There have also been instances of fraud, and as a result, investors are reminded to be very careful in deciding whether to invest in ICOs."
In October 2017, the IOSCO Board expressed concern about ICOs being used to raise capital. On its website, the organization has kept a reasonably detailed collection of statements by regulators on ICOs. With regard to American agencies and investor protection groups, IOSCO includes a variety of bulletins, warnings, and reports from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, and North American Securities Administrators Association.