Speaking at an event at Princeton University, the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, in response to a question whether all ICOs are fraud, said that it was "absolutely not".
According to Clayton, the measures his agency is taking in recent months should help the development of crypto industry.
Is the approach taken in Washington by the SEC adversely affecting distributed ledger technology in other areas? My quick answer is that my hope is that it's actually helping - because this technology is being used for fraud and to the extent that it's being used for fraud, history shows that government comes down harshly on that technology later.
One of the problems that regulators see in this area, according to Clayton, is to attempt to classify the ICO tokens as utility tokens, which, according to the idea of the organizers of such campaigns, should free them from the obligation to comply with the requirements of the securities law. At the same time, in fact most of these tokens have the characteristics of securities.
If a startup "offering something that depends on the efforts of others, it should be regulated as a security" Clayton said.
If I have a laundry token for washing my clothes, that's not a security. But if I have a set of 10 laundry tokens and the laundromats are to be developed and those are offered to me as something I can use for the future and I'm buying them because I can sell them to next year's incoming class, that's a security. What we find in the regulatory world [is that] the use of a laundry token evolves over time. The use can evolve toward or away from a security. We found that the areas of application of laundry tokens can change over time, both in the direction of acquiring the qualities of a security, and in the opposite direction.
Nations may experiment with sovereign cryptocurrencies, while startups might develop different kinds applications with the underlying technology, he added.