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Peter A. Jaslow, left, and Paul D. Hallgren Jr., right, of Ballard Spahr. Peter A. Jaslow, left, and Paul D. Hallgren Jr., right, of Ballard Spahr.

Cryptocurrencies and other digital tokens are digital assets that utilize encryption to secure and verify transfers. Markets in cryptocurrencies function without centralized oversight through the use of blockchain technology, which serves as a digital, and in most cases, public, ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Though Bitcoin is the most commonly known form, new cryptocurrencies can be established at any time, and their number continues to grow. In the past two years, the increasing number of marketplace participants, cryptocurrency issuers, and transfers of cryptocurrency have caused many to ask whether increased guidance or new regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other regulators is necessary in order to facilitate growth of this this novel technological development. Although some commentators continue to push for further clarity, in recent months, the SEC has taken steps to clarify the application of federal securities laws to cryptocurrencies. These measures are particularly helpful since continuing development in the industry, including by major technology companies and large banks, as well as ongoing volatility in core cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, will keep the industry in the spotlight for regulators and legislators.

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