US Legal Updates

Although we are not there yet, two important legal updates out of the US this week point towards the acceptance of Digital Assets as a new asset class.

Firstly, the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission approved US start-up LedgerX to exchange and clear cryptocurrency derivatives. Story here.

Secondly, the US Securities Exchange Commission issued a report on the collapse of ‘the DAO’. The report (which can be found here) makes it very clear that :

1. the SEC consider any form of digital asset such as cryptocurrencies and tokens to be subject to US securities law;

2. and if those assets have the characteristics of ‘Securities’ all the usual laws relative to the issuance a securities apply; and

3. any entity or person engaging in the activities of an exchange, such as bringing together the orders for securities of multiple buyers and sellers using established non discretionary methods under which such orders interact with each other and buyers and sellers entering such orders agree upon the terms of the trade, must register as a national securities exchange or operate pursuant to an exemption from such registration.

I refer readers to my blog post of 16 June 2017 entitled legal flavours of the Crypto Environment and add a comment that it is not a given that the rest of the world will follow the US on this approach, but if an issuer is proposing to offer in the US, at least they now know the position.

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