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.
Uniform Law Commission. The Uniform Law Commission (“ULC”) is set to discuss a draft version of a model law that will guide states in creating regulation for virtual currencies. The conference will take place in Washington, D.C. from October 9th to the 11th and ULC’s Study Committee on Alternative and Mobile Payment Systems will discuss the specifics of the bill’s current provisions. The goal is to create a law that would do for digital currencies what the Uniform Money Services Act did for money transmission laws. One of the most notable proposals of the draft version is a section on reciprocal licensing, which would allow digital currency businesses governed under the law to engage in services without going through the full licensing process in other states. The process would entail (i) paying an unspecified fee, (ii) completing a reciprocal license application form, and (iii) submitting a certification of license history by the applicant. As drafted, state commissioners who grant reciprocity and issue a license would need to do so within 30 days upon receipt of the 3 items enumerated above.
Ukraine. Ukraine’s National Bank has warned country’s regional banks against the associated risks that come with using digital currencies such as bitcoin. The National Bank is particularly concerned about the purely decentralized nature of bitcoin and stated that the consumers have to be liable for the risks and losses associated with the use of bitcoin in transacting payments and assets on the blockchain network. In the statement, the National Bank urged banks, consumers and payment organizations to use approved payment systems and regulated bitcoin exchanges that guarantee consumer protection.
Europol. Europol and Interpol have officially agreed to collaborate on issues related to the criminal use of digital currencies during the Europol Cybercrime Conference. The partnership strives for collaboration “against the abuse of virtual currencies for criminal transactions and money laundering”. Other organizations are invited to join the initiative, which will specifically include actions around policy, stimulating operation cooperation and the development and delivery of training to fight the criminal use of virtual currencies, enabling detection, seizure and forfeiture of criminal assets.