Amid continued scrutiny of ICOs, several firms are racing to build regulated platforms for the issuance of so-called "securitized token offerings," or STOs, that would seek to launch blockchain-based digital assets that are registered as securities under applicable laws. The Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) recently announced that it will be engaging in efforts to obtain regulatory approval for listing and trading such security tokens. If granted, approval will permit the GSX to trade both security tokens and traditional securities. Similarly, the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) recently announced its intentions to work with the digital asset exchange OKEx to develop a security-tokens trading platform. The MSE and OKEx hope to combine their capabilities in security expertise and client due diligence in order to develop "the world's first regulated decentralized global stock exchange."

This week, U.S. cryptocurrency platform Coinbase announced that it had received approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its proposed acquisition of three entities that would move Coinbase closer to being able to operate as a broker-dealer. This announcement, however, was later rescinded, as the SEC was not involved in the approval process and any discussions between Coinbase and the SEC regarding the acquisitions took place on an "informal basis."

According to news reports this week, the asset management company BlackRock has begun investigating a potential foray into the world of cryptocurrency by setting up a working group to study cryptocurrencies and gain a better understanding of the capabilities of blockchain more generally. Also of note, the CFA Institute, the entity responsible for training financial professionals, recently announced that it will be adding topics covering cryptocurrencies and blockchain to its Level I and II curriculums, and adding related questions to its 2019 exams.

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