Broker-Dealer Renews Call for ICO Rules After SEC Release

The SEC has released new guidance on digital tokens and ICOs – but one industry stakeholder wants the agency to go a step further.

AccessTimeIconAug 3, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:47 a.m. UTC
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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released new guidance on digital tokens and ICOs – but one industry stakeholder wants the agency to go a step further.

As CoinDesk reported back in May, New York-based broker-dealer Ouisa Capital formally petitioned the SEC to release clear rules for issuing blockchain tokens. At the time, the firm also called for the agency to put together a so-called regulatory "sandbox," or a framework in which companies can test new products in a limited setting under supervision.

The SEC made waves on July 25 when it published the results of an investigation into The DAO, the ethereum-based funding vehicle that collapsed last summer following a code exploit. Investigators determined that the tokens issued and sold in conjunction with the DAO were securities, but opted not to press charges.

Perhaps more notable in that release was the SEC's statement that the offering and sale of digital tokens "are subject to the requirements of the federal securities law," though it noted that the determination of whether a particular token constitutes a security is based on its "particular facts and circumstances."

It was a decision that many in the industry weren't surprised to see – and indeed, some observers saw the SEC release as a positive development for the sake of clarity.

Yet for Vince Molinari, the CEO of Ouisa Capital, the release doesn't go far enough.

Molinari said in an interview that, based on his discussions with the agency, the SEC has "been extraordinarily engaging in this process," stating that in his view, that publication represents a kind of "warning shot heard round the world."

At the same time, Molinari argued for a more formal process, with draft proposals and subsequent feedback from potential stakeholders.

He told CoinDesk:

"We need formal rule-making here. You can't leave it to facts and circumstances."

Molinari went on to state that he thinks the SEC will ultimately move in this direction, adding that Ouisa has also renewed its call for a regulatory sandbox.

"I believe the SEC will take further steps to clarify this, and I think it's really healthy for the environment, for the investing environment and the token environment, so that it has long-term systemic power," he told CoinDesk.

Image by Michael del Castillo for CoinDesk

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