A future is being predicted by global venture capitalists is a future that will be run by cryptocurrencies and tokens. This future, however, needs a lot of work done before it can be truly realised. Regulations must be put in place, lines must be drawn, and steps must be taken to ensure that both coins and tokens are not categorised as securities.
Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm is taking a leading position when it comes to spearheading these efforts. They have already formed a collaborative group consisting of lawyers and investors which has met with the SEC earlier in the year. If cryptocurrencies are going to be treated in the same way as securities it could significantly affect their value and this is something that must not happen. This group of stakeholders included Union Square Ventures and representatives from legal firms such as Perkins Coie, McDermott Will & Emery and Cooley along with Andreessen Horowitz, and its main goal is to create a crypto-investment fund.
The search for a safe harbour
The New York Times reported that regulators are looking for a “safe harbour” for some cryptocurrencies.
“We are seeing a watershed moment in which many firms in the digital asset community who may have been ignorant of the law — or poorly informed — are now coming to terms with the fact that they are subject to regulators,” lawyer Richard Levin claims.
Various entrepreneurs that have been involved in ICO processes have stated that as cryptocurrencies and tokens are being used as a means of payment, they should not be categorised as a security. The Chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton believes the opposite to be right and states that every token must be registered as such.
If a cryptocurrency is to be treated as a security, there will be considerable paperwork involved and they will only be able to be traded on regulated exchanges. Bitcoins are produced on a daily basis and are not sourced from ICOs, unlike Ethereum which is solely responsible for all Ethers produced as a virtual currency. Lawyers from Andreessen Horowitz want Ethereum to be considered in the same way that Bitcoin is as the former has now been decentralised.
Union Square Ventures partner and venture capitalist, Fred Wilson has described the situation as a clear indication that crypto and tokens are still not fully understood. On the other side of the coin, the Coinbase CTO Balaji S. Srinivasan has noted that leaders such as Christine Lagarde and Larry Summers admit that these currencies deserve some merit and recognition.
The value of the token economy
This is where a staunch critic of Bitcoin, Warren Buffet just doesn’t get it. Wilson further explains that the value of the token economy lies on the token itself and not on the cash flow. Srinivasan envisages a future where entrepreneurs can create their own currencies:
“Blockchain is turning everybody into a venture capitalist. The internet will become the world’s biggest stock market. Where basically anyone in the world can put…money into crypto,” he added.
The safe harbour that is so sought after by lawyers would consist of three things: regulatory certainty, tokens not being categorised as a security, and clear ICO regulations in the future. Under the proposals, a token would only be able to be considered as a security if it meets some of the following criteria: a limitation of promotion, mandatory disclosure, detailed sales terms, token supply, and no equity rights involved.