SEC Mulls Whether Ethereum is a Security Under US Law

US regulators are cracking down on non-compliant securities issuers, and senior officials are set to meet to discuss whether that group includes the founders of Ethereum.

According to the Wall Street Journal, senior officials from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will meet on May 7 to hammer out whether certain cryptocurrencies — an ensemble that anonymous sources say excludes bitcoin — should be classified as securities under US law.

However, that group does include ether, whose creators are not anonymous and which was initially sold through a presale in 2014. That presale raised $18.3 million in bitcoin from contributors, who received an initial distribution of ether tokens when the network’s Genesis block was mined the next year.

The officials will reportedly consider whether ether, whose circulating market cap is $68 billion, is sufficiently directed toward its stated use case — running Ethereum DApps — or if token holders buy it primarily for its perceived investment potential.

They will also discuss whether the project’s creators retain a level of influence over the asset’s price that is comparable to the influence that traditional company executives have over a firm’s share price.

On Wednesday, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin hit back at the report, arguing during an interview with financial publication TheStreet that the project engaged in copious legal due diligence when structuring its token sale and that he is “extremely comfortable” that regulators will not classify it as a security.

However, former CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said recently that he would classify ethereum and XRP — the third-largest cryptocurrency — as “noncompliant securities,” though he acknowledged that ethereum’s present level of decentralization may earn it a favorable regulatory ruling.

The ethereum price initially fell in response to the news that regulators are examining whether the asset is a security, though it made a moderate recovery on Wednesday and was trading at $687 at the time of writing.

Featured Image from Pixabay

David Murray

David has been following the development of cryptocurrency technology for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.

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