The New York Times‘ resident crypto wiz Nathaniel Popper has heard some behind-the-scenes murmurings. And these murmurings suggest that Silicon Valley venture capital darling Andreessen Horowitz “led a group of VCs and law firms that visited the SEC” in March 2018. Why? To request a “safe harbor” for a select amount of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
We Come in Peace?
Andreesen Horowitz was already in this week’s news cycle after their board partner and Earn.com CEO Balaji Srinivasan just became Coinbase’s CTO. Now, the VC firm isn’t exactly in the headlines again … yet. But they may soon be if this ICO “safe harbor” chatter actually comes to fruition.
Here’s what we know. NYT journalist and Digital Gold author Nathaniel Popper tweeted out that he’s heard — not indicating the source or sources — that Andreesen Horowitz led a diplomatic parley to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):
Amid the big regulatory crackdown on virtual currencies, I've heard that Andreessen Horowitz led a group of vc's and law firms that visited the SEC late last month and argued for a "safe harbor" for at least some initial coin offering tokens.
— Nathaniel Popper (@nathanielpopper) April 17, 2018
The alleged purpose? To pre-empt strict regulations against cryptocurrencies, specifically ICOs, by setting up some sort of “safe harbor” exclusion for some token offerings.
Breaking It Down
What would an ICO safe harbor look like? It’d have to be set up as some sort of legal exclusionary clause that would exempt certain ICOs from typical restrictions against financial offerings in the United States.
At this point, countless questions come into play. What will the criteria be to meet safe harbor status? Will the SEC and other top U.S. watchdogs agree to the dynamic? Did the VC firms argue only in favor of tokens they’ve invested in themselves?
None of the answers to these questions are immediately clear for now, but you can guarantee that if Popper’s sources are right, then we’ll be hearing more about this deal — whether a success or a failure — in the coming weeks.
Bitsonline will keep you posted on the situation as it develops.
What’s your take? Do you think an ICO “safe harbor” dynamic would be good for U.S. crypto investors? Sound off in the comments below.
Images via Reuters, Fortune