U.S. SEC Eyes ICO Rules Laid Out in ‘Plain English’

Nov 09, 2018 at 0:52

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) plans to release a “plain English instrument” that will aid business players in identifying whether their digital currency products constitute as securities.

William Hinman, chief of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, said the provisions will take cues from an earlier speech in which he crossed out Ethereum offers and sales as securities transactions.

The rules aim to serve as a ultimate how-to guide for entrepreneurs when registering their initial coin offerings as securities offerings. It will also map out qualifications that would allow an ICO exemption from registration rules.

“Do I think I have a security offering?” Hinman was quoted by a Bloomberg Law report as saying at a Nov. 5 fintech conference in Washington.

“Look at that new guidance, and I think you should be able to sort this out. If it’s not clear after going through that guidance, there’s going to be a very easy way to reach us and get more guidance directly from us,” the official added.

Hinman was said to have later revealed to reporters that the guide will be released either before the year ends or in the early part of 2019.

Last month, the SEC intensified its crackdown on ICOs of startups who have yet to ensure their tokens are sold to accredited investors.

In June last year, SEC chairman Jay Clayton branded all ICOs as securities. This means any company selling tokens is required to register first with the SEC, or qualify for an exemption, if needed.