The AMLA 2020 includes sweeping reforms updating and modernizing U.S. anti-money laundering laws, many of which have implications beyond financial institutions regulated under the Bank Secrecy Act.

This multipart series will discuss key takeaways, including (1) new corporate beneficial ownership disclosure requirements; (2) enhanced whistleblower program; (3) expanded subpoena authority over foreign financial institutions accessing

Weekly Focus

  • The OCC clarifies that banks can provide crypto custody services.
  • The FDIC seeks comments on developing a certification process for new technologies to be used by banks.
  • The UK looks at restricting crypto promotions.
  • A group of crypto exchanges is working together to comply with FATF travel rule standards.


Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of July 24, 2020

Weekly Focus:

  • Money Laundering in Bitcoin . . . is Still Money Laundering
  • CFTC Designates Sixth Bitcoin Contract Market
  • Terminating Sanctions Ordered Against Blockvest LLC Founder
  • China’s Central Bank Starts CBDC Pilot Program
  • Dutch National Bank Wants to Test CBDCs for the Eurosystem
  • Coinbase Launches Price Oracle for DeFi
  • Ant Financial Launches SME Consortium Blockchain


Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of April 24, 2020

U.S. Developments

Enforcement and Litigation Developments

Craig Wright Faces Sanctions

Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of Bitcoin, has been tied up in litigation since February 2018 related to his partnership with the late David Kleiman.  The case alleged that Wright worked to seize bitcoin owned by Kleiman after his death.  On August 27, 2019, in response to plaintiffs’ motion to compel, a magistrate judge ordered sanctions against Wright for his “continued non-compliance” with court orders to provide information about Wright’s bitcoin holdings.
Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of August 30, 2019

U.S. Developments

Regulatory Updates

SEC Suspends Trading for Crypto Exchange and Mining Company

On April 29, 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it was suspending trading for Bitcoin Generation (“BTGN”), a cryptocurrency exchange and mining company, until 11:59 p.m. ET on May 10, 2019, due to concerns about the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace.  Specifically, the SEC was concerned about “(1) BTGN’s public statements regarding the viability and valuation of a bond that BTGN purportedly acquired from an entity based in the United Kingdom; (2) the amount of BTGN’s outstanding common stock; (3) stock promotional activity relating to BTGN and the market impact of such promotional activity; and (4) the accuracy and adequacy of current public information regarding BTGN’s financial condition.”  BTGN merged with Inolife Technologies and Inolife Technologies Operations in 2018 and offers two ERC20 tokens, the BTGN token and the Bitachon token.  BTGN holds itself out as specializing in the development of blockchain technology applications, cryptocurrency mining and operating a “publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange.”
Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of April 29 – May 3, 2019

U.S. Developments

Cboe Withdraws and Then Submits a Proposed Rulemaking for a Bitcoin ETF

On January 22, 2019, Cboe BZX Exchange (Cboe) withdrew its proposed rulemaking with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  Had the proposal been approved, Cboe would have been allowed to list shares of bitcoin electronically-traded funds (ETFs) backed by VanEck and SolidX.  On January 30, 2019, Cboe submitted a new proposed rulemaking to list the VanEck and SolidX bitcoin ETFs.
Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of January 21-25, 2019

On November 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), announced an action against two Iranian citizens, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, who facilitated the exchange of bitcoin ransom payments on behalf of Iranian malicious cyber actors.  This client update provides an overview of the OFAC action and identifies certain key issues raised by OFAC’s addition of digital currency addresses as associated information for the listings of Khorashadizadeh and Ghorbaniyan on the OFAC Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN list).

Continue Reading Treasury Identifies Iranian Nationals and Their Digital Currency Addresses Used to Facilitate Ransomware Attacks

U.S. Developments

Regulatory Updates

FATF Issues Virtual Currency Guidance

On October 19, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) published the outcomes of its Plenary meeting.  Included in the outcomes of the meeting were new recommendations related to the regulation of virtual currency (the “2018 Virtual Currency Recommendations”).  In addition to the 2018 Virtual Currency Recommendations, FATF announced that it will be publishing rules for international cryptocurrency regulation in June 2019 to encourage countries to “take coordinated action to prevent the use of virtual assets for crime and terrorism.”  In 2015, FATF had issued a set of recommendations (the “2015 Virtual Currency Recommendations”) for a risk-based approach to virtual currencies related to money laundering and terrorism financing risks.  The upcoming guidance will clarify how to apply the 2015 Virtual Currency Recommendations.  While the future guidance is in development, FATF recommends that all jurisdictions should “urgently take legal and practical steps to prevent the misuse of virtual assets,” to include applying risk-based Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (“AML/CFT”) regulations to virtual asset service providers and risk-based monitoring and supervision of these entities.  Virtual asset service providers, according to the 2018 Virtual Currency Recommendations, include crypto-crypto and crypto-fiat exchanges, the transfer on behalf of a person of a virtual asset from one virtual asset address or account to another, the safekeeping or administration of virtual assets, and the participation in and provision of financial services related to the offer and sale of a virtual asset.  FATF also noted that, for those jurisdictions that have already implemented the 2015 Virtual Currency Recommendations, the clarifications coming out of the Plenary meeting are “largely compatible” with what the jurisdiction likely already has in place.

Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of October 22-26, 2018