SEC says ETH is not a security
...but tokens based on ETH could be 🤔
Posted on June 14, 2018 10:27 PM.
The VergeShannon Liao
The SEC has declared that Ethereum and its digital coin ether, are not securities today, during the Yahoo Finance summit. The announcement led the price of ether to rise by over 8 percent, hitting a high of $520 per token.
“In cases where there is no… central enterprise being invested in or where the digital asset is sold only to be used to purchase a good or service available through the network on which it was created,” that digital asset is “out of the purview of U.S. securities laws”, according to William Hinman, the director of the division of corporation finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Hinman said the primary issue in determining whether cryptocurrencies and ICOs were securities was the expectation of a return by a third party, specifically whether there was a person or group that sponsored the creation and sale of the asset, and who played a significant role in its development and maintenance. For purchasers of the asset, the key is whether they are seeking a return on the investment.
Hinman says that if there's a centralized third party, and purchasers expecting a return, then it is a security.
The VergeShannon Liao
Last July, DAO tokens were found to be securities after an investigation, according to a public SEC report. Therefore, they were subject to federal securities laws and the issuers had to register all sales of DAO tokens with the SEC. The report cautioned investors against initial coin offerings, which can also violate securities law. Months later, SEC chairman Jay Clayton clarified that “every ICO I’ve seen is a security,” and many were illegal.
Promoters and other market participants need to understand whether transactions in a particular digital asset involve the sale of a security. We are happy to help promoters and their counsel work through these issues. We stand prepared to provide more formal interpretive or no-action guidance about the proper characterization of a digital asset in a proposed use.
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