Debevoise on Blockchain Tokens and Initial Coin Offerings: New Year, New Perspective

Sales of blockchain tokens in so-called initial coin offerings (“ICOs”)[1] exploded in 2017. According to CoinSchedule, a website that tracks ICO (or digital token sale) data, the total amount raised in ICOs in 2017 was $3,700,682,293, which compares to $96,389,917 raised in 2016.[2]

Perhaps not surprisingly, 2017 was also a year of increasing focus by U.S. regulators on ICOs. The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) launched a new Cyber Unit and took its first significant enforcement actions against promoters of ICOs.

As the calendar opens on a new year, it seems appropriate to revisit and assess the … Read more

Debevoise & Plimpton Discusses Developments in the Enforcement of Token Sales

Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Chairman Jay Clayton recently discussed the uncertainties surrounding token offerings and other forms of distributed ledger-based financing.[1] Mr. Clayton cautioned that the lack of information regarding online platforms that list and trade virtual coins or tokens may lead to price manipulation and other fraudulent trading practices on these platforms. The Chairman stated, “The [SEC] recently warned that instruments such as ‘tokens’ offered and sold in ICOs may be securities, and those who offer and sell securities in the United States must comply with the federal securities laws.” The Chairman’s statements regarding token sales reiterate … Read more