Bitcoin steadies as investors watch for news on U.S. crackdown on ICOs

The price of Bitcoin steadied on Thursday, as the market kept a close eye on developments about a reported probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the initial-coin offering (ICO) industry.

The No. 1 cryptocurrency, Bitcoin

BTCUSD, +0.40%

 was up around 0.7% to $10,384.97. The price fell sharply late Wednesday on a report by The Wall Street Journal that the SEC had issued scores of subpoenas and information requests to companies involved in the ICO market.

An ICO is a fundraising method in which a company issues its own cryptocurrency, often in exchange for Bitcoin. The SEC has had its eye on the industry for a while — in December, a new cyber unit halted an allegedly fraudulent ICO. Some $6.5 billion was raised last year in the industry, which has been booming, and which also has fewer regulatory hurdles to overcome than initial public offerings do.

The failure rate of ICOs is also fairly high. A survey from found that 46% of all ICOs in 2017 either flopped at the funding stage or have stopped operating since their launch. A further 13% are currently labeled as “semi-failed.”

The price of Bitcoin has been struggling lately to push above $11,000, having failed in an attempt to push past that level on Wednesday.

Among other cryptocurrencies, ether was last up 0.8% to $861.57, while Bitcoin cash was up 1.1% to $1,218.12 and Litecoin was up 0.3% to $203.36.

Among futures markets, the Cboe Global Market’s March contract

XBTH8, -0.89%

 fell 3% to $10,350. The CME March contract

BTCH8, -0.42%

 saw a similar loss, last changing hands at $10,335.

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