After being spooked by the massive digital tokens crackdown, cryptocurrencies got another pushback by the feds recently. The Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S has decided to gun down all the cryptocurrencies, especially Ethereum under regulatory scrutiny to whether consider it as security or commodity. After a remarked high range in digital currency world, this bull to bearish reversal is the result of investor anxiety gushes over the squabble between Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The second most popular digital currency after Bitcoin in the charts, Ethereum is considered under the category of security will have hard consequences. Not only for Ethereum cryptocurrency, but all digital currencies crowdfunded through ICOs, that is Initial Coin Offerings.
Coming under increased regulatory scrutiny by the U.S government, all these cryptocurrencies are viewed as securities due to their speculative nature all around. Regulators have already declared bitcoin as security. But undermining the liquidity of this second popular cryptocurrency can prove out to be disastrous for it and also the cryptocurrency economy. Though the basic mechanism working behind these two digital currencies is not merely same, but they contribute majorly to the cryptocurrency world.
Initial coin offering
Until the mid-2017, selling transaction of these tokens was not much of an exhausting task. A team would emerge through these blockchains and present their purpose of tokens in a ‘white paper’. They would then arrange an Initial Coin Offering Service, ICOs where they would offer coins to nearly anyone who would exchange them for cash or Bitcoins.
The main idea or theory behind this ICO was to fund and support the construction of that newly emerging online service. But later in a few cases, these ICOs were proved to be scams. Absconding of these organizers created an upthrust, where SEC fired a warning claiming that tokens sold in ICO may be considered as securities and their declaration will be mandatory. SEC values Ethereum similar to any public Company who strives every act to value their stock.
Now the developers are concerned that due to the fact that Ethereum ICOs investors bought the tokens in hope that their value will increase in the near future, it could be classed as security. But the plethora of issues is not that straight and easy here.
Ethereum co-founder denies
The whole dilemma was observed and addressed by the co-founder of Ethereum, Joseph Lubin in a conference. He says that the scrutiny doesn’t upset him. According to him and the developers, this does not meet the requirements of security and doesn’t have to be regulated, therefore. There were no concerns about the potential issues about the cryptocurrency. he further said, he never considered and identified the system as security ever.
The Howey Test
A case resided between the SEC and WJ Howey Co in 1946. In this case, the foundation to determine the event to be a commodity or a security was set. It is now known as the Howey Test.
In simpler terms, Howey Co. sold a part of their citrus farm to some investors. Their idea behind it was to gain profits from the operations performed on the farm. It was considered as a securities contract by the judge explaining that the scheme focuses on the idea to obtain profits from the efforts and labor of others.
Basically, in simpler terms, this test helps to determine if a transaction or profit is obtained solely by the hard work and labor of one party and not by the other party, combined in an agreement. This Howey Test has been greatly talked and argued about in the regard of these cryptocurrencies and ICO. As the basic phenomena in Ethereum ICOs reside the same. The investor expects profits primarily from others hard work and efforts.
Securities classification arguments
According to wall street journals, the future of the cryptocurrencies is under debate, whether it would be identified as security or not. Commodities and securities under which the legislation falls are regulated by different authority bodies. They are regulated and operated in different markets and agencies. These differences will greatly affect the investors, sellers, and buyers in the cryptocurrency market.
Despite all the fuss and controversy about the issue, a lot of experts are very positive and hopeful about the future and growth of Ethereum cryptocurrencies. Many have come up suggesting that Ethereum and such cryptocurrencies may be considered as unregistered securities after a continues refusal by the founders of them being never entertained as security. The growing market capitalization of Ethereum cryptocurrency has shown that this is not going anywhere this soon!