After China, Will Israel Release ICO Guidance Next?

EXCLUSIVE – Israel could likely be next to release guidance on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs),  Bank Innovation has learned.

The attention ICOs have received since the U.S. first announced its intention to regulate certain tokens through the Security and Exchange Commission in July is growing rapidly.

Latest in the ever evolving ICO universe, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission released a statement today saying that it has noticed an increase in the use of ICOs to raise funds in Hong Kong. The statement reiterated sentiments of regulatory bodies for both the U.S. and Singapore that “depending on the facts and circumstances of an ICO, digital tokens that are offered or sold may be “securities” based on the definition of the Hong Kong entity.

China’s announcement on Monday to ban ICOs in the country is further proof of the changing landscape of ICOs.

Next in line is probably Israel, Joshua Ashley Klayman, chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Blockchain & Smart Contracts Group, predicts.

“No one wants to be the wild west,” Klayman told Bank Innovation. “The Israeli Securities Authority already said that it is looking into the possibility.”

It might not be too long before Israel joins the ranks of U.S., Singapore and now Canada by releasing formal guidance on the matter. ICOs have experienced a lot of commentary from various government authorities, and “will continue to do so,” she said.

“The idea that this space will go unregulated is absurd,” Klayman said.

In fact, just last week, Bank Innovation reported a comment on the matter from Russia, whose Deputy Finance Minister expressed his sentiments that cryptocurrency trading should be reserved for only “qualified investors.”

In late August, Canadian regulatory authorities said it would apply the Pacific Coast Count Exchange test “one that is very similar to the Howey Test in the U.S.” to determine whether a token is a security or not.

“Like the U.S., Canada is saying that not all tokens are securities, but the ones that do qualify will be regulated,” she said. “But while the US guidance came out in form of an enforcement action against the wrong doers, the Canadian guidance struck a warmer tone, saying they welcome these types of financial innovations and encouraged people to go see their securities regulator about these kinds of investments.”

The time Canada made its announcement is bit “curious,” Klayman said.

“It seems they were in a hurry to release it. Their announcement was released the same day the US SEC said it was temporarily suspending the trading of Canadian First Bitcoin Capital Corp because it wasn’t providing adequate disclosure. This leads me to think that there was some coordination between the two regulatory bodies.”

The idea of government coordination on the matter might not be so unusual, Klayman explained. As ICOs gain momentum on the global stage, such coordination among regulatory bodies across nations should anticipated, if not expected.

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