Many cryptocurrency startups and investors are unhappy with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s uncertain approach to the sector, saying the agency is killing innovation and driving companies from the US. Now the Canadian social media company Kik—backed by prominent voices in the crypto world—is stepping up its effort to use the courts to force the SEC’s hand.
On Tuesday, Kik announced a crowdfunding effort to help it fight the SEC over the company’s 2017 initial coin offering, in which it sold nearly $100 million worth of a token it called kin. The company says it sold a currency that could be used across a network of apps, whether to get paid for taking surveys or to buy new stickers and themes. The SEC disagrees, arguing in a proposed action last November that kin are securities—investments subject to strict rules about how they can be sold.
Kik’s fight has drawn interest from major investors and cryptocurrency exchanges such as Circle, that are hoping for changes in how tokens are regulated. By drawing the SEC into a legal battle, Kik and its backers are hoping the courts will devise rules that would impact a wide array of crypto companies. The catch? The SEC hasn’t taken any action yet, and it’s unclear if it will.