On March 7, 2018, the staff of the Divisions of Enforcement and Trading and Markets of the SEC issued a public statement regarding exchanges and other secondary trading platforms that list and/or facilitate the trading of coins and tokens online. The statement emphasizes that platforms offering the trading of digital assets that are securities, including many (if not all) coins and tokens issued through initial coin offerings (ICOs), must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or operate under an exemption from such registration. The SEC statement addresses an apparently widespread misunderstanding that industry participants could operate such online coin or token exchanges without registering as an exchange, alternative trading system (ATS), or broker-dealer.

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