According to a report from Wired, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the online retail giant Overstock’s plan to issue securities via the Bitcoin blockchain. This is the first-of-its-kind approval from the regulatory authority that might completely alter the way how public securities are issued and traded in the future. Overstock had earlier issued private securities using the blockchain which did not require the authority’s approval.
The blockchain is a public ledger of transactions; however, it can also be used to record data of anything including stocks, real estate, etc. Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne, however, has not yet confirmed as to when the public securities will be issued, but in a conversation with Wired, he said, “You can assume its high on our list of priorities for 2016.”
The approval is a significant boost for Overstock as it plans to offer the technology to other businesses, so that they too can issue cryptosecurities. A successful debut of this technology in the public domain might facilitate or compel other companies to adopt the blockchain platform to distribute securities. However, this does not eliminate the need for approval from the SEC.
Jeffrey Steiner of law firm Gibson Dunn had some concerns regarding the same. He said that since this is new territory, the complete case might not be as simple as is perceived to be. He said that many investors might flinch from immediately using this technology. The attitudinal change will come from the participation of more big exchanges like NASDAQ in using the blockchain technology.
The blockchain ledger can help in drastically cutting down the costs associated with the issuance, tracking, and trading of cryptosecurities. It provides a transparent, secure, cheap and speedy infrastructure in the financial markets. The Bitcoin tech may also prevent market manipulation, as automated systems replace the traditional systems which can be rigged easily.