The CoinGeek Pulse Episode 40: ICO making US comeback, CBDC pilot programs, and Bitcoin SV DevCon 2021

What an interesting week! Coinbase’s direct listing, Square-led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) filing a lawsuit in the High Court of Justice against Bitcoin inventor Dr. Craig Wright, and NFT of “Leave Britney alone!” viral video selling for $44,000 have filled the newsroom but we won’t be talking about all of these on this week’s CoinGeek Pulse.

Shift your attention back to the infamous ICOs. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce has updated her proposal to let digital currency startups sell tokens as initial coin offerings (ICOs) without going against the rule of law.

Peirce published the updated 2019 Token Safe Harbor Proposal on Github on Tuesday. The 2019 proposal provides a three-year grace period for blockchain-powered projects to raise funds and develop network before releasing or selling any tokens. Under the 2.0 proposal, companies could sell tokens before building the project and would be exempt from federal requirements with the SEC unlike securities issuers.

There are three significant changes in the updated version. First, the safe harbor proposal now requires semi-annual updates to the plan of development disclosure and a block explorer to enhance token purchaser protection. Second, the safe harbor proposal now includes an exit report requirement at the end of the three-year grace period. The exit report may include an announcement that the tokens will be registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Lastly, the exit report requirement provides guidance on what outside counsel’s analysis should address when explaining why the network is decentralized.

Last month, Hester appeared on Blockchain Policy Matters with Bitcoin Association Founding President Jimmy Nguyen, where she shared some of her learnings in the space—the market changes fast and the SEC has waited a long time to approve products.

For Peirce, the updated version reflects constructive feedback provided by the digital currency community, securities lawyers, and members of the public. She adds that now “a new Chairman is coming into the SEC with a new agenda,” it is the perfect time for the securities regulator to consider how their rules can be modified to accommodate this new technology in a responsible manner.

Last week, CoinGeek Pulse talked about Japan and its recently launched central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program. This week, we give you the rundown of countries piloting their own CBDC trials.

In Sweden, the central bank has announced the results of the first phase of its digital currency pilot program that could see a CBDC rolled out across the country. Sveriges Riksbank identified scalability as the main obstacle and a potential bottleneck to adoption.

In the Caribbean, Ireland-based eCurrency Mint teams up with the Bank of Jamaica to test pilot its CBDC. It is expected to roll out in early 2022.

In Asia, Governor of State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir declares that the country is studying the possibility of testing its own CBDC. There are looking into financial inclusion, and tackling money laundering and counterterrorism as possible benefits.

Meanwhile, the People Bank of China (PBoC) will conduct pilot tests in Hainan next week following similar tests in other provinces. Participants in this trial will get a 15% discount for every 100 yuan spent within the island.

In other exciting news, Bitcoin Association has announced the Bitcoin SV DevCon 2021– a two-day virtual conference centered on developing applications and services for the Bitcoin SV network happening on May 15 to 16 in partnership with WeAreDevelopers and nChain. The weekend-long virtual event is free to attend and will feature leaders from across the Bitcoin SV ecosystem. The event aims to educate and upskill developers interested in working with the Bitcoin SV blockchain and data network.

Visit bsvdevcon.net to sign up.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.