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SEC official has say on cryptocurrencies and ICOs

US Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton says that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are replacements for sovereign currencies such as the dollar, yen and the euro, but ICOs are securities that the SEC will regulate.

Clayton, who refused to comment on other currencies, says the SEC will not bend the rules or modify the definition of securities just to cater to cryptocurrencies.

“We are not going to do any violence to the traditional definition of a security that has worked for a long time. We’ve been doing this a long time, there’s no need to change the definition,” says the SEC official in an interview with CNBC.

He explains the SEC’s definition of security as “a token or a digital asset where I give you my money and you go off and you have some company you want to start … and I’m going to give you a return in return for you giving me money, or you can make a return in the secondary market by selling your token to somebody … that is as security and we will regulate that. We regulate the offering of that security and the trading of that security.”

Clayton says the SEC will also not adjust its rules for ICOs, which this year alone have raised $9.1 billion. “If you have an ICO or a stock, and you want to sell it in a private placement, follow the private placement rules,” Clayton comments. “If you want to do any IPO with a token, come see us.”

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