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SEC official: Cryptocurrency ether not a security

William Hinman, director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's division of corporation finance, said at a conference that the digital token ether is not a security and that it is unlikely that the SEC will consider regulating it.

Speaking at a Yahoo Finance conference, Hinman said that if the network on which the token operates is decentralized, the asset would not be considered an "investment contract."

"Based on my understanding of the present state of ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of ether are not securities transactions," Hinman said.

He was similarly reluctant to describe bitcoin as a security needing regulation.

"Applying the disclosure regime of the federal securities laws to the offer and resale of bitcoin would seem to add little value," he said.