SEC's Clayton: 'Come See Us' If You Want to Do an ICO

NEWS
Anna Baydakova
Jun 6, 2018 at 18:31 UTC  |  Updated  Jun 6, 2018 at 21:43 UTC

The SEC won't budge when it comes to how it regulates token sales, the agency's chairman remarked on Wednesday.

Speaking to CNBC, Jay Clayton stated that sales of security-like tokens must follow the letter of the law.

"If you have an ICO or a stock, and you want to sell it in a private placement, follow the private placement rules. If you want to do any IPO with a token, come see us." The SEC would be "happy to help you do that public offering," he added.

In the interview, Clayton sought to clarify the kinds of characteristics that the agency would look for when determining whether a blockchain-based token constitutes a security.

"A token, a digital asset, where I give you my money and you go off and make a venture, and in return for giving you my money I say 'you can get a return' that is a security and we regulate that," he told CNBC's Bob Pisani. "We regulate the offering of that security and regulate the trading of that security."

And when asked if the agency would come out with a clearer statement on the matter, Clayton responded: "Bob, I hope I just did."

According to a transcript published by CNBC, Clayton declined to say whether tokens like ether or XRP constitute securities, as some have argued.

SEC said last summer that "U.S. federal securities law may apply" to ICOs that it would regulate "various activities, including distributed ledger technology, depending on the particular facts and circumstances, without regard to the form of the organization or technology used to effectuate a particular offer or sale."

Clayton's comments follow the appointment of Valerie Szczepanik as the agency's point person on token sale and cryptocurrency matters. Szczepanik previously led the SEC's distributed ledger working group.

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SEC Chairman John Clayton