Regulatory uncertainty or not, data from the SEC indicates the number of filings related to token sales continues to trend upward.
Indeed, a review of SEC data through June indicates that the SEC has received nearly 100 filings for token sales (93) in the past year, beginning with four in August 2017 and building to an all-time high of 15 in May.
Many of the filings reviewed by CoinDesk related to sales of Simple Agreements for Future Tokens, or SAFTs, which essentially serve as promises for tokens at a later date. The framework is modeled after the Simple Agreements for Future Equity, or SAFEs, which a funding model popularized by the startup accelerator Y Combinator.
Still, the data from the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system shows additional details that provide insight to the trend.
Geographically, it’s perhaps no surprise that the U.S. accounted for the majority of the funding, though according to the SEC, Spain, Japan and the U.K. were represented as well.
As for where the startups are incorporating, Delaware was the clear winner, accounting for the lion’s share of filings.
Other popular jurisdictions included the Cayman Islands, Estonia and Bermuda, the latter of which has been publicly seeking to attract startups and innovators of late.
The growth in filings comes in spite of what some sources say is scrutiny of the SAFT model by SEC officials. As CoinDesk previously reported and quoted from a knowledgeable source: “The SEC is targeting SAFTs.”
However, it remains to be seen what will take place over the latter half of 2018, as recent remarks from the SEC perhaps hint at a softer tone that could do much to propel new filings.
For example, there’s SEC chairman Jay Clayton’s statement in June where he told CNBC that token sellers should “come see us” if they plan to sell tokens. Further, later that month, an SEC official provided what was a moment of market clarity when he stated that he doesn’t believe ether and bitcoin, the market’s two largest assets are securities.
While the verdict is still out for ICOs, it seems the current lack of clarity is doing little to stem or slow the tide of token offerings.