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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce isn’t yet “willing to make a blanket statement that everything other than Bitcoin is a security,” she said on Wednesday at the Medici conference in Los Angeles.

Why it matters: SEC chairman Jay Clayton and Commissioner Mike Piowar have both said publicly they've yet to see any initial coin offerings that don't look like a security.

Peirce’s view on the topic are nuanced, acknowledging that “there’s incredible diversity in what’s out there,” including tokens that are like securities, money, and other things.

  • She raised the possibility that some tokens’ function can change over time. While they may be like securities when first issued (say, to fund a project), they may take on a different function later (say, once their underlying network is operational).
  • She also admitted that “if the promoter [of a token] is not involved anymore, to pursue that promoter doesn’t make sense”—and important aspect to consider given that many projects are designed to be decentralized and not depend on their original leader.

Peirce said she hopes further guidance will come from the SEC's corporation finance division rather than its enforcement unit, which has been increasingly going after ICO fraudsters.

  • She encouraged entrepreneurs creating and developing digital tokens to engage with the corporation finance division and share how they’re building these technologies. “I want us to be able to play that role but we can’t do that unless you tell us what you’re actually doing,” she said.

She also outlined a preference for a more hands-off approach to helping financial entrepreneurs than some regulatory bodies’ use of sandboxes.

  • “On a beach, you have a life guard…. but she’s not sitting with the sand castle builders,” Peirce explained. Her concern is that regulators may get too involved in the development of new technology and steer it themselves.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

An inside look at Intuit's Mailchimp acquisition

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Mailchimp recently agreed to be acquired by Intuit for $12 billion, we noted how it was the richest sale ever of a private bootstrapped company. Now we know more about why the Atlanta-based email marketing company never took outside funding.

The big picture: Mailchimp founder and CEO Ben Chestnut tells Axios that it was all about timing.

"Noticias Telemundo" names Julio Vaqueiro as new anchor

Julio Vaqueiro. Photo: Noticias Telemundo

Emmy award-winning journalist Julio Vaqueiro will become the new anchor of "Noticias Telemundo," the network's daily Spanish-language evening newscast, Noticias Telemundo announced Thursday.

The big picture: Vaqueiro replaces José Díaz-Balart, who is returning to MSNBC later this month to host a new show as NBC seeks to add more diverse voices to its English-language news programs.

Al Gore's Climate TRACE finds vast undercounts of emissions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A high-tech independent effort to track greenhouse gas emissions from every country, industrial facility and power plant announced its first results on Monday.

Why it matters: Climate TRACE utilizes satellite data, machine learning and artificial intelligence to determine greenhouse gas emissions globally. It aims usher in an era of "radical transparency" and a more enforceable climate agreement by giving nonprofits, governments and the UN actionable intelligence to track and crack down on polluters.