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SEC Plans ‘Plain English’ Crypto Securities Guide

Nov. 5, 2018, 4:26 PM

The SEC plans to release a “plain English instrument” that will help entrepreneurs determine whether their cryptocurrency products are securities.

William Hinman, who leads the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance, said the guidance will draw on a June speech in which he said Ethereum offers and sales aren’t securities transactions. The guide also will show how to register crypto fundraising tools known as initial coin offerings as securities offerings or how to get a registration exemption for them.

“Do I think I have a security offering?” Hinman said Nov. 5 at a fintech conference in Washington. “Look at that new guidance, and I think you should be able to sort this out. If it’s not clear after going through that guidance, there’s going to be a very easy way to reach us and get more guidance directly from us.”

The guide may come out by the end of the year or early next year, Hinman told reporters after he made his remarks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Ramonas in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at