Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Questions America Wants Answered: "Is a Subway Token a Security?"

From Elaine's Idle Mind:

Is a Subway Token a Security? and other non-legal advice.
In 2003, I had the best business idea ever. The MBTA had recently announced an upcoming increase in the price of Boston transit tokens, from a dollar to $1.25. The change would not be effective until the following January, which meant that any T tokens acquired before then would be guaranteed a 25% return. I had just over a month to hoard as many tokens as possible.

I wasn’t the only one with this strategy; many of my classmates did the same. But after a month-long buying spree, it became clear that realizing those profits would be a pain in the ass.
We could never use all those tokens ourselves, and there was no secondary market because all our friends had made the same brilliant investment. If only T tokens were tradeable on the blockchain!
How many potential buyers were discouraged by the lack of a convenient aftermarket? Without the liquidity limitation, the MBTA could have held a far bigger token sale. Maybe it could have paid for a new railway. Maybe another Big Dig. Maybe even a hyperloop!

Why don’t we finance all our infrastructure projects with token sales? Is Trump still looking for ways to pay for that wall? Issue a Wall Token and put it on the blockchain! Each Wall Token confers the right to one border crossing.

But it turns out such Tokens might constitute a security....
....Here’s a 1977 paper about property developers who finance their facilities by selling usage licenses before construction. Two fun examples:...MORE