Last week the SEC offered its clearest guidance yet on when blockchain tokens and other digital assets would be classified as “securities” under U.S. securities law and subject to SEC regulation.

Specifically, the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) issued its first-ever “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets.


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The Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment held a hearing, “Examining Cryptocurrencies and ICO Markets,” this past Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

The stated goal of the hearing was to achieve greater regulatory clarity in the cryptocurrency and ICO markets, especially as these markets continue to grow and attract attention from investors and enterprises in pursuit of capital. Members of the subcommittee indicated that achieving this regulatory clarity would be critical to ensuring that investors are protected without unduly stifling innovation.


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The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, February 28, 2017, that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued “scores of subpoenas and information requests to technology companies and advisers” in a sweeping probe of the Initial Coin offering (ICO) and Token Sale industry.

By way of background, ICOs or “Token Sales” typically involve the offer and sale of digital assets utilizing distributed ledger or blockchain technology. According to the report, the SEC is seeking information on the structure of these sales, including pre-sales under the “simple agreements for future tokens” (“SAFT”) framework.


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