Ether explodes higher after SEC news

The statements are the latest in a long line of remarks that have found various regulatory officials opining on whether the nature of the sale in which ether was issued made it subject to USA securities laws.

Decentralization, Hinman said, played a big role in how the SEC considered ether.

A SEC spokesman has stated in a recent speech that Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are not securities, however, ICOs are securities and they are therefore under the regulatory purview of the SEC.

When we think about how ether today is operating, at least, we see a highly decentralized network... "We believe that the current offers and sales of Ether are not security transactions". It has fallen more than 60 percent since its peak in January. Minutes after Hinman began speaking, the price of bitcoin spiked by almost 3 percent, according to "With this guidance, the SEC is showing that taking a pro-innovation approach does not have to come at the expense of protecting investors". Dozens of probes into initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other get-rich-quick promises led to cease-and-desist letters from the state regulators.

Ripple's XRP token, the third most valuable digital coin, also rose Thursday even though Hinman's comments suggest the SEC might deem it subject to the agency's rules.

For the SEC not to regulate bitcoin and ether could create some risks for investors, said David Sirignano, a partner at the law firm Morgan Lewis.

"... strictly speaking, the token - or coin or whatever the digital information packet is called - all by itself is not a security ..."

In many cases, but not all, companies that handle cryptocurrencies comply with tax, banking and other regulations that aim to protect consumers.

Officials at the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) had long urged the SEC to clarify its position on ether, and the two agencies had been discussing how the currencies were first offered. Securities laws aim to add an additional layer of safety beyond ordinary consumer protection law, analysts say.

Ether is the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin and is powered by a technology called Ethereum.

The commission's policy is in line with what SEC Chair Jay Clayton said recently about bitcoin: that cryptocurrencies are not securities and the definition of "security" would not change to include bitcoin.

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