Category Archives: DAO

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Carnegie Mellon University Gets $4 million Blockchain Research Funding


  • Carnegie Mellon university receives USD 4 million in MakerDAO tokens
  • Funds to be spent on game theory and DAO research

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has received up to USD 4 million worth of MakerDAO coins (around MKR 10,000) for conducting decentralized research. The amount itself was donated by a former makerDAO contributor and a former university alumnus.

Nikolai Mushegian, the MakerDAO developer had announced the donation via twitter, initially promising MKR 3,200 (USD 1.3 million) and also making further commitments of MKR 6,800 (USD 2.9 million). The research’s focus according to Nikolai Mushegian will be decentralized autonomous organizations and game theory mechanisms on which Bitcoin’s network is itself based.

Mushegian raised some valid concerns regarding the profiteering of the sector and stated that he trusted the system to come up with useful original research for the field as it was desperately needed. The university is not under direct pressure from the bigger players to only proceed in the sectors that only they want to be pursued. Game theory and DAOs can be dangerous to the operations of corporations.

Carnegie Mellon has one of the best computer science departments in the world and is constantly ranked at Number 1 in the world along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford and Berkeley. The university is also progressing in blockchain and cryptocurrency technology as it has launched a university-only CMU token and asked the students to work on its use cases. is committed to unbiased news and upholding journalistic codes of ethics. For more information please read our Editorial Policy here.

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Why SEC Should Take a Close Look at an ICO Amnesty Plan

Daniel S Alter, former general counsel for the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) and writer for Coindesk has suggested that the SEC should consider an amnesty for illegal ICOs.

In his article, he points out that 2017 saw a monumental rise in the number of coin offerings (ICOs). At one point, up to 50 companies a month were raising funds, most of these unregistered.

This changed later in 2017 after the DAO report based on the Howey Test earlier that year in July, resulted in certain tokens being classified as “investment contracts”, thereby becoming liable for US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) registration.

It took precedent from the famous court case of the WJ Howey Co-owned Florida citrus groves, the fruits from which would typically be considered a commodity when sold on an exchange. However, the Howey Co also leased about half of its groves in order to finance future grove developments. Howey’s own fruit groves, therefore, were found to be tied to its leased groves, which qualified as an “investment contract” instrument – or a security.

According to Alter, 2018 saw a wave of “SEC subpoenas and enforcement actions targeting similar token offerings – many of which smacked of fraud”. The result is that many ICO tokens have seen a fall in value due to reduced liquidity, market instability for existing tokens, and US companies registering overseas where token sales are unrestricted.

Alter suggests that a model amnesty “clean up” plan should be forged between participating ICOs and the SEC in order to integrate the new asset class into the current structure and introduce a mechanism for protecting “legally flawed investments”. Reports suggest that this process may have begun already, with firms and their lobbyists meeting with the SEC to try and effect a regulatory exemption for unregistered security tokens.

Currently, there are five agencies involved in discussing and setting cryptocurrency regulation in the US, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FinCEN, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

This past February, the Commission’s enforcement division announced the Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative (SCSD Initiative), self-described as a self-reporting initiative that seeks to protect advisory clients from undisclosed conflicts of interest and return money to investors. Those reporting illegal activity under the initiative would be free from penalty themselves.

Alter feels that a similar approach could work with the case of unregistered security tokens by offering an amnesty. He suggests a method of achieving this would be for issuers of unregistered tokens to make a formal presentation to the SEC to replace the “old” tokens for “new” tokens. This could be formulated under section 12 of the Securities Act of 1933 (establishing a cause of action for rescission or damages in connection with the sale of unregistered securities).

“As an incentive to exchange old tokens for new ones, issuers would probably need to offer some additional consideration – possibly paid in new tokens rather than cash in order to preserve the company’s operating capital,” says Alter.

Ethereum is now under regulatory scrutiny by the SEC, which is considering whether it should be classified as a commodity or a security, according to the New York Times. The SEC is likely to use the Howey Test to establish if Ethereum trading qualifies as an investment contract, thus becoming a security.


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