For the first time in US history, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved a digital public token offering to the general public amidst ongoing concerns in the cryptocurrency world over how to legally regulate and offer digital assets.
On Thursday, July 11, Blockstack, a New York developer of decentralized computing technology (or technology that supports virtual currencies like Bitcoin) launched a $28 million public token offering that the SEC agreed to regulate under its Regulation A+ registration exemption. Regulation A+ allows digital currencies to be issued to non-accredited investors without the challenges required of a full initial public offering. Each Blockstack token will be offered at 30 cents to the general public and 12 cents to pre-registered buyers.
In an article in Law360 about the SEC's approval of Blockstack's public token offering, Katten New York special counsel Gary DeWaal, who focuses on financial services regulatory and Fintech issues, explained that the SEC approval shows how much the cryptocurrency landscape continues to grow, adding that digital tokens are becoming more mainstream. "This is part of a cycle that I think can result in five and 10 years from now with much more normalcy. I think it'll be much more common to issue digital securities, that are not only issues on [an] A+ basis but issued in traditional offering statements," Gary said.
New York Financial Services special counsel Cathy Yoon also commented to Law360 that while the SEC approval was a significant accomplishment, it required Blockstack to spend nearly $2 million to prepare its offering documents, showing how there are still barriers to the success of future cryptocurrency offerings of this nature. "It is a great accomplishment that this offering is able to proceed, but it's also not something that may be replicated easily or readily in the space," Cathy said.