A U.S. Congressman has invited 32 cryptocurrency industry organizations to Capitol Hill to discuss initial coin offering (ICO) regulation.
Axios reports that the summit, sponsored by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), will take place on Sept. 25 and feature participation from a variety of businesses and non-profits, including Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Nasdaq, CME Group, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Circle, Kraken, Ripple, and Coin Center, among others.
Chief among Davidson’s questions is whether ICOs should be regulated as securities offerings, which fall under the oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). To date, the agency, led by Chairman Jay Clayton, has maintained that it’s conceivable that an ICO could be structured such that it is a “utility token” and not subject to SEC oversight. However, Clayton has also said that he has never personally seen an ICO that is not a security.
That said, the agency has left open the possibility that a cryptocurrency token may shed the security label by becoming sufficiently decentralized. As CCN reported, a top SEC official announced earlier this year that ether — the native token of the Ethereum platform — is not a security, despite the fact that a large supply of ether tokens was initially distributed through an ICO-style crowdsale in 2014.
Davidson, the publication reports, intends to introduce an ICO regulation bill later this year. The Ohio Republican, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee, has said that he favors a “light touch” approach to cryptocurrency regulation.
Elsewhere, industry companies are considering how to adopt self-enforcement policies to demonstrate to regulators that the ecosystem is maturing into a respectable marketplace.
Earlier this year, Nasdaq reportedly hosted a closed-door meeting to discuss ways to legitimize cryptocurrency as an asset class. Just today, a group of U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges led by Gemini announced that they had formed a working group to discuss creating a self-regulatory organization (SRO) whose mission would be to police American exchanges.
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