The delay has subsided with custody of digital asset securities by special purpose broker-dealers (SPBDs). By way of background, on July 8, 2019, SEC and FINRA staff issued a joint statement addressing how registered broker-dealers could facilitate transactions in digital asset securities without taking custody of the assets. The solution involved bilateral clearance and settlement of the transactions.
A year later, the SEC’s Division of Trading Markets staff issued a no-action letter to FINRA articulating the staff’s position on how alternative trading systems (ATSs) could facilitate trading in digital asset securities using a three-step process. However, per its terms, the no-action letter requires the ATSs to not take custody of the digital asset securities.