On July 8, 2019, the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets and FINRA’s Office of General Counsel issued a joint statement on broker-dealer custody of digital asset securities (“Joint Statement”). The SEC and FINRA have been discussing issues of custody related to tokens and digital assets for years. For example, issues surrounding the custody of digital assets have been continuously cited by the SEC as one of the reasons for the failure to approve a cryptocurrency ETF.
The Joint Statement begins with the admission that historical rules do not adequately cover the complex issues related to digital assets, including rules related to the loss or theft of a security. In recent months the SEC and FINRA staff have been engaging in conversations with industry participants regarding how the rules could be applied or modified to suit the needs of the emerging technology of digital assets.
Any entity that transacts business in digital asset securities must comply with the federal securities