A security is a broad classification that refers to any kind of tradable asset. Through ICOs, investors have access to a wide variety of securities tokens, ranging from coins redeemable for precious metals to tokens backed by real estate.
In the United States, these token sales and investments are subject to SEC securities regulations. SEC v. Howey established the guidelines for whether a financial arrangement involved an investment contract and was subject to securities regulations. As described by Cooley LLP Fintech Team Leader Marco Santori, an arrangement is a security if it involves “an investment of money. And a common enterprise. With the expectation of profit, primarily from the efforts of others.”