Emin Gun Sirer: SEC ICO Guidance is 'End of Beginning for Blockchains'

A Cornell professor who was at the center of last year's DAO hack has issued new comments on an SEC ruling on the project.

AccessTimeIconJul 25, 2017 at 10:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:46 a.m. UTC

The Cornell University professor who was among the first to warn about the vulnerabilities that led to the collapse of The DAO has issued new statements on a ruling today from the US Securities and Exchange Commission finding the project had indeed issued securities.

A prominent public critic of the project, Emin Gun Sirer was vocal about its issues, though his statements often pointed to weak points in its technical design. At the time, he called out issues with the project's voting mechanisms, alongside possible attacks that could be launched against its code (and eventually were).

In remarks following the SEC's statements today, Sirer cautioned that the ruling could have an impact equaling The DAO's collapse in its industry impact. In fact, he went so far as to say the finding by the US regulator may have a "chilling effect" on innovation.

However, ultimately, he said it is likely to usher in a new, more tempered era of industry development, one that fosters sustainable, long-lasting project development.

Sirer told CoinDesk:

"This portends the end of the beginning for blockchains. We can no longer count on regulators not understanding what a blockchain is, nor can people use the veneer of a block-oriented data structure to subvert the law. In turn, it represents public acceptance of on-chain financial instruments as being equivalent to traditional ones."

If the ruling is being taken as a setback, it's one from which Sirer believes the industry can recover.

Looking ahead, Sirer sought to position it as a moment that could serve as a call to action for the industry, concluding:

"In the next chapter, we will see the cryptocurrency community focus more on its competency and innovative technology, and less on disguised financial instruments, and we will see the financial incumbents challenged by fundamentally innovative technology that can do what has never been done."

Michael del Castillo contributed reporting.

Emin Gun Sirer image via Michael del Castillo


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