The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is breaking new, and hopefully positive, ground with its first Fin Tech Forum held on 31 June in Washington DC.
Issues on the agenda will clearly be related to cryptocurrency assets and DLT with key SEC officials being joined by various legal, financial and technical experts.
The key term is cryptocurrency “assets” as the Kin Foundation, defendcrypto.org launch is aiming to clarify the status of cryptocurrencies once and for all. The foundation is hoping that its recent lawsuit will eventually lead to a new version of the Howey test as a basis to determine when crypto tokens will be classified as securities. If successful, this will create a huge impact on the cat and mouse game of crypto regulation in the US perhaps even affecting the industry worldwide.
Circle, Kik, and others say a lack of clarity and leadership from the SEC about what is and are not a security have put the brakes on the industry moving forward. Kevin Werbach, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has suggested that “It’s impossible to come up with an agenda for an event like this that represents everyone in the industry”. So, what direction the talks take at the SEC Blockchain Forum is uncertain, although Werback maintained:
“There will always be some perspectives that are insufficiently represented… I’m sure the SEC thought hard about whom to invite in order to get the best discussion of the issues they’re most concerned about.”
However, one analyst is not sure, maintaining that the panelists attending the SECs first Fintech Forum don’t include one broker-dealer or a qualified custodian commenting, “There’s no entity that would be subject to the regulations of the SEC at issue.”
Werback remains upbeat, arguing that anything which enlightens the regulators as the workings of the industry is likely to be a positive and productive step adding, “There is plenty of one-on-one contact between both sides, but a comprehensive public event like this provides an opportunity to evaluate the big picture.”
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