Below is a summary of some of the significant legal and regulatory actions that occurred over the past week. This alert is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all such developments, but rather a selection of publicly-reported news that may be of particular interest. U.S. Developments
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) launched a bitcoin price index (NYXBT) on May 19, 2015. NYXBT will represent the daily US dollar value of one bitcoin and will be published on the NYSE Global Index Feed. The price index will use data from transactions taking place on San Francisco-based bitcoin exchange, Coinbase. The NYSE group’s president Thomas Farley stated that “[b]itcoin values are quickly becoming a data point that our customers want to follow as they consider transacting, trading or investing with this emerging asset class.” The bitcoin price index could help bring transparency to the market.
On May 21, 2015, FinCEN announced that it is naming Jamal El-Hindi as FinCEN’s new Deputy Director. He has been with FinCEN since 2006, where he has worked with law enforcement, intelligence, financial and regulatory communities to coordinate anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing initiatives.
For more information: http://www.fincen.gov/whatsnew/pdf/20150521.pdf
Thailand. Police in Thailand raided an apartment complex in Bangkok in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme called UFUN, which promoted a fraudulent digital currency. The business model focused on UToken, which UFUN claimed was backed by a gold reserve system alongside several large companies. It is unclear whether UToken actually existed.
UK. Citi wants UK government to create its own digital currency. The bank wrote that “banks and governments should be at the center of the technological shift beyond paper and credit cards,” and that “the act of a government issuing a digital currency would address Anti-Money Laundering, Know your Customer, and sanctions concerns faced by market-backed digital currencies like bitcoin. Using such technology, there is a clear opportunity to reduce the cost of moving and handling money, increase consumer spending, and introduce greater liquidity to the market. Citi also called for the UK government to introduce regulation covering digital currency companies.