US Chamber of Commerce Calls for Clarity on ICOs

The influential business lobbying group launched its FinTech Innovation Initiative last Wednesday, highlighting development in cryptocurrencies and token sales as one of its eight «FinTech principles» aimed at «bridging the gap between technology and Washington D.C.»

The organization specifically called for increased guidance on token sales, including how to determine whether a token is a security «so companies can have more predictability and certainty in the marketplace.»

According to the document, the initiative wants to «promote new and innovative ways to access capital, such as initial coin offerings (ICOs), while advocating for tailored oversight and strong consumer and investor protections. Entrepreneurs know all too well how difficult it is to raise the capital necessary to start or grow their business.»

The Chamber continued:

«We urge the SEC to continue studying ICOs to see how they can be an effective tool for raising capital, while protecting investors and ensuring applicable laws are met. We also urge the CFTC to study how cryptocurrency is functioning in the futures and commodities market. In both cases, we urge the agencies to regulate the products and services enabled by the technology instead of the technology itself.»

In its message, the group urged both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to write «expedited no-action letters,» meaning letters that ask startups to cease unlawful activity yet recommend no legal action against these firms.

The Chamber further wrote that «we urge the SEC to expand the definition of accredited investor to include those with experience or educational backgrounds that demonstrate subject matter expertise to broaden smaller-dollar, main street investments.»

Doing so, the organization wrote, «would alleviate contradictory and overlapping rules, and allow institutions to focus on what really matters – reducing consumer risk and preventing fraud.»

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is interested in initial coin offerings as a way for companies to tap capital – but only if they’re regulated, that is.

Time is of the essence as well, given that there is «generally a significant lag time between the speed of technological innovation and regulatory action.» As such, the initiative states that it is «critical» that the SEC and CFTC provide clarity, «so regulatory hurdles do not become a barrier to entry.»

«We look forward to working with both of these agencies as the use of tokens grows and regulatory expectations are clarified,» the Chamber concluded.

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