SEC is attempting to classify Ether as a security: Report


The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reportedly issued several subpoenas to companies related to attempts to label Ether (ETH) as a security.

According to a March 20 Fortune report, an investigation by the SEC into the Ethereum Foundation could give the commission regulatory coverage to define ETH as a security. The foundation suggested via GitHub that it may be under investigation “from a state authority.”

Several U.S.-based companies reportedly received subpoenas from the SEC requesting they provide documents and financial records related to dealings with the Ethereum Foundation. According to people familiar with the matter, the commission launched a campaign to classify ETH as a security following the blockchain’s tradition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake in 2022.

While in office, SEC Chair Gary Gensler has refused to answer direct questions about whether ETH qualifies as a security under the commission’s purview, despite claiming Bitcoin (BTC), Ether and others were “not securities” in 2018. The commission has approved exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tied to Ether futures but has yet to decide whether to approve or deny spot ETH ETFs — many experts expect a decision by May.

Related: CFTC chair warns of conflict with SEC over Prometheum’s ETH play

Crypto firm Prometheum, one of the few companies to have approval from U.S. financial regulators as a special purpose broker-dealer for digital asset securities, announced in February it planned to offer institutional custody services for Ether. The decision put pressure on the SEC to provide clarification for firms seeking to avoid potential liabilities related to certain crypto assets.

Should the SEC move forward with regulating Ether, it could potentially put the regulator in conflict with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Lawmakers have been attempting to enact legislation to clarify the roles each regulator would take over digital assets, but no bill had been passed at the time of publication.

Magazine: Ether ETFs face Senate opposition, Wright is not Satoshi, and Dencun goes live: Hodler’s Digest, March 10-16