First there was SAFE, the “simple agreement for future equity.” It was created to enable startup companies to provide an investment vehicle that works the same as a convertible note, but isn’t a debt instrument. It’s an agreement that allows an investor to purchase stock in a future equity round following an initial investment. Now, cryptocurrencies have their own version, SAFT, which is proving to be anything but simple.
SAFT stands for Simple Agreement for Future Transactions. It works the same as a SAFE, but is designed with digital currencies in mind. According to SAFT proponents, “In the U.S., the SAFT itself is a security, so it could be offered in a private placement to accredited investors. The tokens that are ultimately delivered to the investors, though, should be fully-functional, and therefore not securities under U.S. law. The SAFT is a security. It demands compliance with the securities laws. The resulting tokens, however, are already functional, and need not be securities under the Howey test. They are consumptive products and, as such, demand compliance with state and federal consumer protection laws.”
While, in theory, a SAFT seems to be a valid solution to a rising problem, it doesn’t go much further. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hasn’t given SAFTS its blessing, which can lead to legal difficulties for both companies looking to issue SAFTS, as well as investors. To make matters worse, SAFTS were created by lawyers, even though SAFTS have no legal precedent upon which they’re constructed.
There are currently more than 200 cryptocurrency funds being offered, an increase of 90 since October of last year. Everyone who has spent more than six months in the cryptocurrency world knows that there aren’t any guarantees when returns are discussed, but when people start throwing around ideas like SAFTS and showing the growth of crypto over the past two years, the lesser educated could be duped into investing more than he or she should.
Strictly by the numbers, hedge funds earned around 8.25% in January. This compares to a loss of 4.6% seen through cryptocurrency hedge funds. However, with so much hype circulating around Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) and exponential returns, there’s a fine line between what’s really happening and what can happen.
Without a doubt, the SEC is looking to crack down on cryptocurrencies and ICOs starting this year. They have only issued a small amount of warnings, but there are now apparently dozens of investigations in the works. While SAFTS might have their place among crypto, it won’t happen without regulatory intervention in the U.S., as well as in other countries.
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