The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, has delivered a report to Congress containing recommendations from small businesses seeking regulatory clarification on the role of digital assets.
In a Monday announcement, the SEC’s Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation reported on recommendations from the commission’s 40th Annual Small Business Forum held in May. Participants at the forum — including all five SEC Commissioners, 14 members of SEC staff, 12 small business advocates, 11 guest speakers, and 610 other participants from the U.S. public — recommended that the U.S. Congress “clarify the status of digital assets to make clear when it is a security.”
The recommendation from the Small Business Forum included no additional details regarding the reason the group sought changes to the regulatory framework concerning digital assets. However, the SEC clarified in its response that the current standard in determining whether cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) qualify as "investment contracts" and thus securities is to use the Howey Test. In addition, the Commission cited a 2019 framework published by the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, or FinHub, “analyzing whether a digital asset is an investment contract and whether offers and sales of a digital asset are securities transactions.”
The SEC said that it encourages market participants looking to determine whether a digital asset is a security “to seek the advice of securities counsel and engage with the [FinHub] Staff.”
The tagline is a familiar one for the ommission. SEC chair Gary Gensler has consistently called for cryptocurrency platforms and projects to “come in and talk” to the agency rather than wait for possible enforcement action. Cointelegraph reported in August that the SEC chair hoped to introduce crypto-related policy changes surrounding stablecoins, token offerings, decentralized finance, custody, exchange-traded funds and lending platforms.