October 15, 2021

Volume XI, Number 288

Advertisement
Advertisement

October 15, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

October 14, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

October 13, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis
Advertisement

SEC Releases Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets

Recognizing the need for guidance as to the application of US federal securities law for those considering an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), or otherwise engaging in the offer, sale or distribution of a digital asset, the Securities and Exchange Commission released its Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets. The Framework represents the views of the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) and is designed to provide additional guidance in areas that the SEC has not previously addressed.

The US Supreme Court’s Howey case and subsequent case law have found that an “investment contract” exists when there is the investment of money in a common enterprise with a reasonable expectation of profits to be derived from the efforts of others. Whether a particular digital asset at the time of its offer or sale satisfies the Howey test depends on the specific facts and circumstances. Price appreciation resulting solely from external market forces (such as general inflationary trends or the economy) impacting the supply and demand for an underlying asset generally is not considered “profit” under the Howey test. The Framework provides guidance on how market participants should analyze the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the offer or sale of a digital asset to ascertain if such offer or sale is being made as an investment contract and, therefore, within the purview of the federal securities laws.

The full Framework issued by the SEC is available here.

©2021 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 95
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Michael T. Foley, Katten, Lawyer, Finance, FINRA, Chicago
Special Counsel

Michael Foley represents broker-dealers, investment advisers and other financial services industry participants with respect to a broad spectrum of legal and regulatory matters arising under the federal securities laws.

Michael has nearly 20 years of experience in private practice and in-house at both a large, full-service broker-dealer and at an online discount broker-dealer, advising broker-dealers and other financial institutions regarding compliance with the federal securities and commodities laws, and with the regulations of the US Securities and Exchange...

312-902-5452
Susan Light, Katten Law Firm, Finance Law Attorney, New York
Partner

Susan Light focuses her practice on financial services regulatory matters. She counsels broker-dealers, hedge funds, investment banks and financial services clients on enforcement issues involving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), other self-regulatory organizations (SROs) and state and federal regulatory authorities. She has particular experience related to sales practice issues, financial and operational issues, anti-money laundering, crowdfunding, cybersecurity, and cryptocurrencies.

...
212-940-8599
Associate

Leonard Licht is an associate in the Financial Services practice. He advises a broad range of financial market participants, including investment managers to private funds and investors in private funds. Prior to joining Katten, Lenny practiced as a corporate and securities attorney and has also worked in an analytical capacity with a family office.

While in law school, Lenny was a Heyman scholar and member of the Moot Court Honor Society.

212-940-6587
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement