SEC Spokesman Says Ethereum and Bitcoin Are Not Securities: Markets Rally in Relief

A SEC spokesman has stated in a recent speech that Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are not securities, however, ICOs are securities and they are therefore under the regulatory purview of the SEC. Bitcoin's and Ethereum's higher level of decentralization was cited as the reason why they were not classed as securities.

At the Yahoo All Markets Summit: Crypto conference in San Francisco, William Hinman, a SEC regulatory spokesperson explained in a speech that the biggest challenge in deciding if cryptocurrencies and ICOs are securities is whether there is an expectation of profits from a third party. Also if the investors in the cryptocurrency have an expectation of profits the asset could be classed a security. He stated:

"Central to determining whether a security is being sold is how it is being sold and the reasonable expectations of purchasers,"

William Hinman

Hinman explained that the higher the level of centralization the greater chance of the cryptocurrency being classed a security. He explicitly said Bitcoin was not a security due to its high level of decentralization, and went on to add that Ethereum was not a security for the same reason.

Relief for Ethereum Ecosystem

Industry experts already believed Bitcoin to not be a security, however there was significant uncertainty over how the SEC would class Ethereum. It raised $18 mln in 2014 via an ICO which worried many investors who thought it would be in breach of the relevant US securities laws.

Due to the large number of Ethereum ICOs and DApps, its status as a security has long been a source of doubt for the entire Ethereum ecosystem of ICOs and DApps that rely on Ethereum. According to CryptoCompare data the markets have reacted strongly to the news and in under 1 hour Ethereum has risen 10% to over $520.

Ethereum (ETH) CryptoCompare

Tim Draper Explains Why Buffett Is Bashing Bitcoin, CZ Invites Him to Lunch

Siamak Masnavi

On Monday (February 24), legendary American tech investor Tim Draper spoke about why he recently moved most of his investment funds into crypto, why he is still bullish on Bitcoin and confident about his $250 price prediction, and why he thinks billionaire investor Warren Buffett is so critical of Bitcoin.

Draper, a co-founder of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and an early investor in quite a few unicorns, including Hotmail, Skype, Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter, was being interviewed on CNBC's "Squawk Alley" at a time when U.S. stocks were down (due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic) and Bitcoin was trading around $9,700.

Principal anchor Carl Quintanilla started the interview by asking Draper about his thoughts on the valuations of U.S. stocks and whether thery were too frothy.

Draper Replied:

"Actually, I got to admit [that] I have been out of the market for about six months. It felt pretty lofty for me, and I kind of moved most of my stuff to crypto and Bitcoin. I think that's kind of a safe haven now, and I think this correction may end up being more than that, but I think we're in for a kind of an interesting ride."

Quintanilla then wanted to know what pushed Draper out of stocks six months ago.

Draper said:

"Well, it just got very frothy -- the market got too excited and Uber drivers were doing day trading, and you know all the signs were there. So, I think it was time.

"I think it's a good time to be in the private markets -- that's what I do, and so at Draper Associates, we're very happy that we're continuing to be in the private markets, but I think in the public markets. it just got frothy and then there's the fear of socialism.

"I mean, nobody wants socialism. Capitalism may only work 70% of the time, but socialism has never worked in the history of man. So, I don't understand why there's this move, but I think there's some fear there, and I think there's some interesting things coming."

Co-anchor Morgan Brennan then asked Draper where he saw the Bitcoin going from here.

Draper answered:

"I'm still holding to my prediction. I think Bitcoin in 2022, or at the beginning of 2023, will hit $250,000, and that is a big move from where it is here. And I think that the reason is that Bitcoin will be the currency of choice.

Right now, you have this choice, and Bitcoin is not as easy to move around, but eventually it will be, and then you'll have a choice, and you'll say 'hey do I want to pay the banks 2.5 to 4 percent every time I swipe my credit card or do I want a currency that's frictionless, open, transparent, global, and not tied to any political force?'.

"At some point people are going to make that switch and Bitcoin is going to be the big winner."

Another co-anchor, Jon Fortt, wanted to know how much of Draper's money was invested in Bitcoin, but Draper did want to give him a specific number, and he just said "a lot of it." 

He then added:

"I think the world is going to be much better off because [of] this decentralized movement, and it's not just Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is decentralized currency, but it's decentralized everything, and I think that the some of the politicians are clinging to the past and clinging to their tribalism, but most of the best politicians are moving toward this new world that's global and open and transparent.

I think that's going to be the new world. I think it'll be a more beautiful, more loving, and more peaceful world, but you're going to see a lot of tension on the way to getting to that world."

Draper was also asked by Quintanilla to comment on Warren Buffett's interview on the same program earlier in the day, when he said that cryptocurrencies have "no value" and "don't produce anything" and that people who invest in them are essentially believers in The Greater Fool Theory. Buffett also said in the same interview that he would never own any crypto (even though TRON Foundation CEO Justin Sun has claimed that during a recent dinner, he gave Buffett as gifts two Samsung Galaxy Fold phones containing Bitcoin and a few other cryptocurrencies).

Draper had this to say:

"That is hilarious. 50% of his holdings are banks and insurance companies. They're not gonna do well in this new decentralized economy.

Of course, he is not going to like it. He sees a huge threat to his holdings -- his holdings are more than 50 percent in banks and insurance companies [at Berkshire Hathaway]."

After seeing this interview, Binance Co-Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (aka "CZ") went on Twitter to compliment Draper on his excellent understanding of crypto, and invited him to lunch so that they could have a chance to speak on this topic:

Last month, Draper was asked during an interview on FOX Business to give his "best advice" to millennials when it comes to investing for retirement.

He offered this advice:

"Go Bitcoin, go decentralized, start building your empire in the new model that doesn't require that you to have to pay two and a half to four percent every time you swipe your credit card to some bank or another and doesn't require all the heavy regulations we have that are all tied to the dollar... I think if you really want it to work, I think you go Bitcoin or crypto or the new way... I would focus on the future..."