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The SEC is seeking quotes from contractors to run Bitcoin and Ethereum nodes on its behalf, in addition to “as many as possible of the following blockchains: Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, Zcash, EOS, NEO and XRP Ledger.” What they are hoping to find?
Allegedly the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) is planning to run through contractors a Bitcoin and an Ethereum node, in addition to “as many as possible of the following blockchains: Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, Zcash, EOS, NEO, and XRP Ledger.”
In their Synopsis, they wrote they intend to procure a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) enterprise-wide data subscription for blockchain ledger data to support its efforts to monitor risk, improve compliance, and inform Commission policy with respect to digital assets.
That tender essentially means that it only includes existing companies which are already engaging in research and monitoring activities.
The SEC is, therefore, looking for companies that gather data as are hash rate, blockchain explorers, transaction fees, mining difficulty, and rewards.
These sort of data is provided for free by plenty of blockchain explorers (Messari Crypto, Coinmetrics, Blockchain Info, The Tie) but it seems SEC wants analysis rather than just data as their requirements state the contractor should:
“Demonstrate level of rigor of data cleansing and normalization meets requirements of financial statement audit testing. If attribution data supplied, describe processes and data sources for blending blockchain data with attribution data points for deriving insights.”
They added that all data from the genesis block onward should be provided in one go, and then updated daily through some feed and preferably an API method of their choice.
A provider should also be able to add new blockchains within a three months notice so it seems they will probably be looking to implement on-chain surveillance systems to see or guess who is doing what, with it unclear why bitcoin is included.
The news, of course, went quickly through Crypto Twitter whose users seem to be divided between the ones who think this could be a bullish sign of SEC acceptance and US Government not banning crypto, and the other ones who are sure this is just another way of overall blockchain surveillance.
Mati Greenspan, a senior analyst from eToro tweeted:
Never thought I'd see the day.
— Mati Greenspan (@MatiGreenspan) July 30, 2019
And while some users are sure that this is just a way for the Government to track transactions, others were pointing out most of the information on public blockchains can already easily be accessed via blockchain explorers.
Even though some might say this was bullish announcement for Bitcoin:
Another bullish indicator for Crypto. More time and resources being spent by the US gov't continues to point to the fact that there are no current plans to try to ban/squash crypto in the USA. https://t.co/Py3uHKdbPF
— Kevin Lambert (@kevinlambert) July 30, 2019
One user got the interesting point saying the deadline passed some times ago. It seems market just had missed it:
Have you seen the deadline on it? 11th July. Did the market miss it?
— Nivesh (@nivishoes) July 31, 2019
Be it as it may, it’s already known that Bitcoin is a decentralized and permission-less open network, so the possibilities to run a node and access the data is available to anyone. The SEC, therefore, can not be in control of Bitcoin. All they can do is to see the actions on the blockchain. However, the information can lead to other consequences.
If we take an Ethereum as an example, we can remember it raised capital on this blockchain before it launched. While the SEC explains Ethereum isn’t considered security, they still have to decide whether XRP gets in the same category. Maybe the reason of this system being set up so complicated is to detect if a token or project would be considered a security, though it seems to be a legit question why such an attempt has not previously been researched.