SEC delays ruling on tZero security token exchange

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed a decision on tZero’s security token exchange, in the latest delay to the proposals gaining regulatory approval.

The exchange, a joint venture between tZero and BOX Digital, proposes to offer a digital exchange for security tokens, under the regulatory oversight of the SEC. To be known as Boston Security Token Exchange (BSTX), the SEC had been due to decide on the application for approval.

According to the SEC, the delay allows more time to investigate whether BSTX is fully compliant with the provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and to establish whether further information is required before the proposals can be given the green light.

Comments on the application are invited within the next three weeks, with a further two weeks period allowed for responses to those comments. At that stage, the regulator is now due to give its decision on whether the application can proceed.

The proposals were originally submitted to the SEC back in May 2019, and put out to public consultation from October. The proposals were amended by BSTX in March, introducing stricter compliance requirements that brought it more in line with Wall Street standards, including an increase in the minimum number of market makers from two to three.

However, the proposals have met with opposition, not least from Wall Street securities exchanges. Nasdaq SVP Joan C. Conley flagged that the underlying ledger would be exclusively available through BOX, which could place an “unreasonable burden on competition.”

Conley also highlighted a general lack of information about the proposals, anti-fraud and customer protection measures, and the likely investor confusion thrown up by the exchange.

The decision to delay a ruling is expected to come as a disappointment to BSTX, as well as to its parent companies. With the application already in the works for 11 months, it seems possible SEC approval for the security token exchange could be some months away.

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