U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton tried to clarify the agency’s view on cryptocurrencies and securities on Wednesday and said that regulators won’t change their definition just to accommodate digital currencies. In remarks to CNBC, Clayton noted that the current approach to defining securities means that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin fall outside that definition.
Clayton explained the SEC’s view on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin by noting
“These are replacements for sovereign currencies, replace the dollar, the euro, the yen with Bitcoin. That type of currency is not a security.”
Clayton drew a sharp line between cryptocurrencies that are designed to be replacement currencies and those used for initial coin offering (ICO) fundraising efforts:
"A token, a digital asset, where I give you my money and you go off and make a venture, and in return for giving you my money I say 'you can get a return' that is a security and we regulate that. We regulate the offering of that security and regulate the trading of that security."
Clayton’s message to companies that want to use ICOs is simple: just follow the rules. "If you have an ICO or a stock, and you want to sell it in a private placement, follow the private placement rules. If you want to do any IPO with a token, come see us."