Mark Cuban slams SEC’s crypto guidelines as ‘near impossible’ to navigate
Shark Tank Investor Mark Cuban highlighted how the SEC enforcement actions have often conflicted what is on its website.
American businessman Mark Cuban said it is almost impossible to know what qualifies as a security under the current regulatory regime of the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), citing documents from the financial regulator’s website.
“None of the elements presented in this page are part of the registration process. Which makes it near impossible to know, with or without an army of securities lawyers, what is or is not a security in the crypto universe.”
SEC’s framework for digital assets
The SEC’s 13-page document titled “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets” offers crypto firms guidance on determining whether federal securities law applies to their digital assets.
The SEC’s document explains how to apply the Howey test to digital assets to determine their investment contract status and how assets previously classified as securities could be re-evaluated.
According to the SEC document, digital assets with fully developed and operational distributed ledger networks and those utilized as payment methods or for their intended functionality are generally not considered investment contracts. However, it stipulates that an asset may be an exception if:
the digital asset is offered or sold to purchasers at a discount to the value of the goods or services; the digital asset is offered or sold to purchasers in quantities that exceed reasonable use; and/or there are limited or no restrictions on reselling those digital assets, particularly where an AP is continuing in its efforts to increase the value of the digital assets or has facilitated a secondary market.
The Commission added a caveat that “these factors are not intended to be exhaustive in
evaluating whether a digital asset is an investment contract or any other type of security, and no single factor is determinative.” The document also contains extensive footnoting explaining its position.
SEC enforcement actions
SEC Chair Gary Gensler has described all digital assets except Bitcoin (BTC) as securities and highlighted the noncompliance of crypto companies. Under Gensler, the SEC has labeled more than 60 cryptocurrencies, like SOL, MATIC, ADA, BNB, and others, as securities.
These enforcement actions have drawn strong reactions from several crypto stakeholders who dispute this broad classification and demand regulations tailored for their industry. However, Gensler has maintained that existing securities laws govern the digital assets space adequately.