On March 12, the cryptocurrency and blockchain legislative advocacy group Coincenter published correspondence between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton and representative Ted Budd. The letter explains that Clayton and the SEC’s staff analysis confirms that Ethereum and similar cryptocurrencies are not subject to securities laws.
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SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Agrees That Certain Cryptocurrencies Are Not Securities
It seems the SEC chairman Jay Clayton agrees with the agency’s head of the Division of Corporate Finance, William Hinman. Last July, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Hinman’s opinion that that cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH are not securities. “If the network on which the token or coin is to function is sufficiently decentralized” then the currency is likely not a security explained Hinman during the Yahoo All Markets Summit. So a few months ago, the blockchain legislative advocacy group Coincenter sent a letter co-signed by representative Ted Budd that asked the SEC chairman if he agreed with Hinman’s valuation.
“I agree with Director Hinman’s explanation of how a digital asset transaction may no longer represent an investment contract,” Clayton’s response read.
The SEC chairman’s letter continued:
If, for example, purchasers would no longer reasonably expect a person or group to carry out the essential managerial or entrepreneurial efforts. Under those circumstances, the digital asset may not represent an investment contract under the Howey framework.
Clayton Has Given His Opinion Before
Clayton didn’t mention which specific cryptocurrencies met this criterion, but Coincenter’s published blog post suggests that the letter is a confirmation that “Ethereum (and cryptos like it) are not securities.” Coincenter’s founder Jerry Brito thanked Budd for helping reach out to the SEC chairman. “Thanks to representative Ted Budd for his leadership getting regulatory clarity for cryptocurrencies,” Brito tweeted on Mondaystatements to Coincenter and representative Budd echo prior statements he made in June 2018 during an interview with CNBC. During that conversation, the chairman spoke specifically about bitcoin.
“Replace the dollar, the yen, the euro with bitcoin — That type of currency is not a security,” Clayton stated at the time. “Where I give you my money and you go off and make a venture […] and in return for me giving you my money, you say, ‘You know what, I’m going to give you a return.’ That is a security, and we regulate that. We regulate the offering of that security, and we regulate the trading of that security.”
However, Clayton had a different opinion about initial coin offerings (ICO) that have raised billions in the last few years. During a speech last December, Clayton agreed that ICOs were a novel way for entrepreneurs and other businesses to raise capital as long as they follow securities laws. “The novel technological nature of an ICO does not change the fundamental point that, when a security is being offered, our securities laws must be followed,” he said.
It seems that networks like Ethereum and Bitcoin do not fall into that category in Clayton’s eyes as they are sufficiently decentralized. Ripple may not qualify under Hinman and Clayton’s interpretation however. Ripple faces a class-action lawsuit where the plaintiffs allege XRP falls under security laws and must be regulated by the SEC’s framework.
Report: Quadriga CEO indulged in millionaire lifestyle using customer funds
Former CEO of Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, Gerald Cotten, whose death resulted in the loss of $190 million worth of customer funds and bankrupted the exchange, had reportedly been transferring user funds into his personal account and using them for personal gain, a report by Ernst & Young has revealed.
Ernst & Young (EY), Quadriga’s court-appointed monitor, has spent the last four months investigating the exchange and released its findings in its fifth report. During their investigations, EY discovered multiple incidents were Cotten had misappropriated user funds.
“Funds received from and held by Quadriga on behalf of Users appear to have been used by Quadriga for a number of purposes other than to fund User withdrawals,” the report reads.
The report continues, stating that user cryptocurrencies were not held exclusively in Quadriga’s hot and cold wallets. Instead, evidence has revealed that “significant volumes of cryptocurrency” had been transferred out of the exchange and into Cotten’s personal accounts with other exchanges. EY believes that Cotten either exchanged these funds or used them to trade on other exchanges.
Block.one’s CEO asserts Voice to be a mix of centralized and decentralized features
The controversy surrounding whether EOS network being decentralized has garnered huge attention in the past and continues even today. As the community continues to battle EOS’s innate nature between centralized and decentralized network, the firm behind it, Block.one’s latest product and the social media app Voice will be a mixture of both decentralization and centralization.
In the latest edition of CNBC Crypto Trader, Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one, the official developer for EOS cryptocurrency, revealed that the latest rollout has both the aspects. Talking about whether Voice is a decentralized entity and the revenues generated will be distributed across the community, the CEO said,
“We are absolutely decentralizing the economy of attention. If you think, that’s exactly what social media platforms are, they basically sell attention. So we are decentralizing the control over that component.”
Blumer further noted,
“When it gets into content moderation, and these sorts of things we are starting with centralized moderation, just to make sure that we can make it a compliant platform with multiple different types of jurisdictions.”
The CEO also said that in a longer term, Block.one will focus on a road to go towards decentralizing content moderation.
He also cited that blockchain is an excellent vehicle to disrupt the existing social media platform. It brings not only transparency and accountability to the table, but also leverages blockchain-based identity.
The latest blockchain-powered Voice roll-out on the EOS network, according to the CEO, aims to clean-up the behavior and autonomously recognize the values and distribute tokens which will allow people to be beneficiaries of the platform as opposed to just the company.
Kik CEO: The SEC “continues to divide and conquer the whole industry”
Ted Livingston, CEO of Canada-based messaging app Kik, has recently provided some more details regarding the ongoing case with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) during an interview with CNBC Crypto Trader.
Livingston begins by explaining the first time Kik heard from the SEC, stating it began three days after the competition of their token sale, held around 18 months ago. He says their interaction began as “friendly,” with the commission wanting to know more about what they were doing.
Then there were subpoenas and then testimony and finally they issued us a Wells notice in November last year. We issued them our Wells response. We took both those things public in January and then finally we said ‘enough is enough, let’s go public, let’s go to court’.”
NeuNer then asked if they thought the SEC would actually sue them. Livingston stated that they “weren’t sure” but they did know that the crypto industry needs more clarity and that’s exactly what they would receive whether the SEC sued or not.
“We said to the SEC ‘you’ve let us know you think there’s an infraction here, we’re gonna tell the world that. So one way or the other you’re gonna give us clarity. Either you choose to go ahead and we can fight this out in court or you back down’ and that in and of itself will be guidance.”
Livingston was then asked about the decision to fight the SEC. He says that while the commission originally had good intentions, “but what we’ve come to discover is they continue to divide and conquer the whole industry and everyone is in this state of fear of what the would SEC think,” adding that its hindering their ability to “compete on a global stage.”