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Coin Center Releases Bitcoin Report for Securities Regulators

Coin Center has released a guide framework for how it believes bitcoin and blockchain tech should be regulated under securities law.

Jan 26, 2016 at 4:46 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:06 p.m. UTC

Coin Center, a US-based non-profit research and advocacy centre for cryptocurrencies, released a paper today offering a guide framework for the regulation of cryptocurrencies as securities.

Authored by Peter Van Valkenburgh, Coin Center's director of research, the paperpresentsa framework based on the Howey test for an investment contract, as well as the underlying policy goals of securities regulation.

Coin Center's work, says Van Valkenburgh, found that several "key variables" within the software underlying a cryptocurrency, and in the community that runs and maintains that software, are indicative of investor or user risk.

The paper examines these variables, and explains them in depth. Further it maps them to the "four prongs" of the Howey test to determine when a cryptocurrency resembles a security and might therefore be regulated as such.

Larger, more decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, pegged cryptocurrencies such as sidechains, as well as distributed computing platforms like Ethereum, do not easily fit the definition of a security and also do not present the sort of consumer risk that is best addressed through securities regulation, the paper argues.

Van Valkenburgh added:

"We do find, however, that some smaller, questionably marketed or designed cryptocurrencies may indeed fit that definition."

The goal of the report is to help securities regulators separate "the scams from the true innovations", it states.

Comprehensive overview

Packed with notes and references, the paper provides a thorough overview of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, a breakdown of their functions, strengths and weaknesses, as well as presenting guidance for regulators with each section.

Also covered are variables that can affect user and investor risk, such as software and community variables, including transparency, decentralisation and developer profit.

Featured image via Shutterstock

DISCLOSURE

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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