SEC calls on firms to disclose exposure to crypto bankruptcies and risks

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued new guidance that could see publicly traded companies disclose their exposure to crypto assets.

In a statement released on Dec. 8, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance said that the recent upheaval in the crypto asset market has “caused widespread disruption” and noted that companies may have disclosure obligations under federal securities laws to disclose whether these events could have an impact on their business.

The SEC has also included an example letter that would be addressed to companies asking for additional disclosures about the company’s exposure to crypto bankruptcies, crypto asset volatility and any other significant crypto market development.

The first question asks the company to provide disclosure of any “significant crypto asset market developments” that could impact the company’s financial condition, results, or share price, including the impact of the price volatility of crypto assets.

Other questions ask the company to discuss how certain bankruptcies have impacted or may impact the business, including whether one has experienced “excessive redemptions or withdrawals” or the extent that crypto assets are being used as collateral for loans.

The sample letter also asks the company to describe any material risks to the business from regulatory developments relating to crypto assets, or risks faced by the assertion of jurisdiction by U.S. and foreign regulators or other government entities over crypto assets and crypto asset markets.

In the accompanying text, the SEC explained that it “selectively reviews filings […] to monitor and enhance compliance with applicable disclosure requirements.”

It noted that companies are already required to supply additional information as needed to avoid misleading investors.

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“In meeting their disclosure obligations, companies should consider the need to address crypto asset market developments in their filings,” the agency added.

The SEC has been gearing up for greater crypto oversight in recent months, opening new offices — an Office of Crypto Assets and an Office of Industrial Applications and Services — specifically for that purpose. The SEC and other agencies have come under fire recently for their lack of enforcement in high-profile cases.