Legal Considerations After SEC's Warning Shot At ICOs

Law360, New York (August 21, 2017, 11:36 AM EDT) -- A few weeks ago, in the midst of market excitement surrounding initial coin offerings, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued an investigative report warning that digital tokens may be securities subject to the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and other U.S. securities laws. See Report of Investigation Pursuant to Section 21(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934: The DAO, SEC Release No. 81207 (July 25, 2017). As discussed below, this guidance presents significant legal ramifications for issuers and the intermediaries of such offerings.

The report, which analyzes distributed ledger tokens issued by a “virtual”...

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