American Bar Association Publishes Report on Digital Securities

American Bar Association Publishes Report on Digital Securities

The leading voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students published their whitepaper today detailing the legal situation regarding security tokens and crypto-assets more generally. The report covers federal and state laws on the topic.


Recently, big-name institutions and firms have increasingly been commenting on the emerging security token space. Just recently, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), responsible for most of the world’s financial post-trading, called for regulatory unity on the question. Legislatures have been pushing for security token exemptions in the halls of power. However, seldom have we ever heard anything on the question from lawyers themselves.

The American Bar Association, comprised of some 400,000 members and over 3,500 entities, has just published an official whitepaper on security tokens. Titled the Digital and Digitized Assets: Federal and State Jurisdictional Issues, the report was put together by the organization’s Derivatives and Futures Law Committee.

Outlining the Legal Landscape

The whitepaper goes into detail on the federal and state laws currently in effect for digital assets. This includes the issuing, offerings, use, and trading of such tokens like digital securities. The report also covers other legal initiatives in other countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Australia, among others.

One of the main focuses is on the Commodity Exchange Act and how existing federal securities laws apply to cryptocurrencies. The CFTC’s and SEC’s actions are put into context relative to these laws. Conflicting authority is discussed as well as how token issuers and traders can best move forward.

“It is hoped that the white paper will prove to be a valuable resource for legal practitioners and others who are active in the digital asset arena, as well as for policy makers,” the American Bar Association said about the report.

Rather than suggest policy, the whitepaper instead is an explainer of the legal situation we currently find ourselves in. It will undoubtedly become a valuable source for lawmakers, token issuers, and regulators. And it’s also an indication that security tokens are now more on the map than they’ve ever been before.

Do you think the public is warming up to security tokens? Is ABA’s whitepaper a sign of growing acceptance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Image courtesy of American Bar Association.

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