Category: Regulatory and Legislative Developments

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ISDA Publishes Guidelines for Smart Derivatives Contracts

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has published the first in a series of guidelines for what it colloquially refers to as “smart derivatives contracts” (the Guidelines).* A smart derivatives contract is a derivative that incorporates software code to automate aspects of the derivative transaction and operates on a distributed ledger, such as a … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of February 4-8, 2019

U.S. Developments Florida Court of Appeals Rules That Direct Sales of Bitcoin Constituted Money Transmission and the Sale of Payment Instruments Reversing the order issued by the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, the Florida Court of Appeals issued an opinion on January 30 in the case of Florida v. Espinoza in which the appellate court ruled … Continue Reading

Fintech Regulatory Sandboxes: Update on Arizona’s Sandbox and Other Developments

Arizona’s financial technology (“fintech”) sandbox (“Sandbox”), the first of its kind in the United States, has been open for several months and has accepted three participants.  A month after the program’s launch, Arizona’s Attorney General announced his approval of the first participant, payment platform Omni Mobile, Inc.[1]  Two other companies providing consumer lending services, Sweetbridge … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of January 28 – February 1, 2019

U.S. Developments Kik Publicizes Response to Possible SEC Enforcement On January 27, the Wall Street Journal published an article describing the impending legal battle over cryptocurrency Kin and its 2017 ICO. That same day, Ted Livingston, the founder and CEO of Canadian company Kik Interactive (Kik) and the developer behind Kin, published the Wells Notice … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of January 21-25, 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 … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of January 14-18, 2019

U.S. Developments  Flood of State Virtual Currency Legislation Since the start of the new year there have been roughly nine virtual currency bills introduced or passed in four different states. Overall, the bills demonstrate a growing interest among the states in supporting virtual currency businesses through the codification of blockchain terminology for legal effect or … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of January 7-11, 2019

U.S. Developments Regulatory Updates Texas Clarifies that Stablecoins Backed by Sovereign Currency Qualify as “Money” Under Money Transmission Statute The Texas Department of Banking recently issued a Supervisory Memorandum clarifying how its money transmission statute applies to stablecoins backed by sovereign currency. The Department reiterated—consistent with its 2014 guidance—that Texas’s money transmission statute only regulates … Continue Reading

Takeaways on the Regulation of Crypto Assets from Late 2018 Comments of Several SEC Officials

On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, the D.C. Bar hosted a panel to discuss current developments in the world of crypto.  Among the panelists were two senior SEC officers: Jonathan Ingram, Deputy Chief Counsel, Division of Corporation Finance, and Jennifer Leete, Assistant Director, Division of Enforcement.  Also participating on the panel was Era Anagnosti, a former … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of December 21-27, 2018

U.S. Developments Congressmen Introduce Legislation to Define “Digital Token” Under the Securities Laws On December 20, 2018, two congressmen introduced the “Token Taxonomy Act” (H.R. 7356) before the 115th Congress in an effort to define “digital token” under the federal securities laws.  H.R. 7356 was introduced by Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and Rep. Darren Soto … Continue Reading

French Data Protection Authority Issues Guidance on Application of Blockchain to the GDPR

On September 24, 2018, the French data protection authority, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), became the first data protection authority to issue written guidance on the intersection of the use of blockchain technology and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Due to the decentralized and permanent nature of the blockchain, there is … Continue Reading

Update: The SEC and Digital Assets—A Busy Year End

Through their recent actions and statements, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has further clarified their position with respect to digital assets and ICOs. Following on from earlier enforcement efforts throughout 2017 and 2018, the SEC Enforcement Division settled cases with AirFox and Paragon, two issuers of unregistered securities in tokenized form, in addition to … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of December 3-7, 2018

U.S. Developments SEC Remarks on International Virtual Currency Enforcement On December 5, 2018, Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), gave a speech at the IOSCO/PIFS-Harvard Law School Global Certificate Program for Regulators of Securities Markets on the topic of international cooperation in the enforcement of … Continue Reading

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

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 … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of November 5-9, 2018

U.S. Developments Regulation Upcoming Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (“ETF”) Decisions On January 4, 2018, NYSE Arca filed a proposed rule change to list 9 Bitcoin ETFs. Subsequently, the time for the Security Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to approve or disapprove was pushed back in March, April, July, and September. On August 22, 2018, the SEC disapproved the … Continue Reading

FinCEN Advisory Emphasizes Importance of U.S.-Iran Sanctions and AML/CFT Compliance for Virtual Currency Businesses

On October 11, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released an advisory (the Advisory) intended to help money services businesses (MSBs) and foreign financial institutions better understand how U.S. sanctions on Iran affect their compliance obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) rules and under the … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review – Week of October 8-12, 2018

U.S. Developments Regulatory Updates FinCEN Issues Advisory on Illicit Iranian Activities On October 11, 2018, the U.S. Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued an advisory to help money services businesses  and foreign financial institutions better understand the U.S. Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (“AML/CFT”) risks related to Iranian activity.  The report encourages … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of October 1-5, 2018

U.S. Developments Federal Bank Regulators Issue Joint Statement on Collaborative BSA/AML Compliance On October 3, 2018, a group of federal bank regulators and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced in a joint statement that banks and credit unions could collaborate and share resources to manage their Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and anti–money laundering (“AML”) … Continue Reading

SEC and FINRA Target Cryptocurrency Hedge Fund Manager and Broker-Dealers in New Wave of Digital Asset Enforcement Proceedings

The SEC and FINRA recently announced a series of enforcement actions against new types of actors in the digital asset space—private fund managers and broker-dealers.… Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of September 17-21, 2018

U.S. Developments Hester Peirce Remarks at Cato Institute Conference Hester Peirce made remarks at the Cato Institute’s Fintech Unbound conference on September 12, 2018. Commissioner Peirce commented that securities regulators are too risk averse, stating that “capital markets are all about taking risk, and queasiness around risk-taking is particularly inapt” and that “a key purpose … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review: Week of September 10-14, 2018

The following summary is available in our sister blog, The Fintech Report. State Bank Regulators and NYDFS to renew litigation against OCC Blockchain Week in Review: Week of September 10-14, 2018 U.S. Developments Regulatory Updates U.S. Judge Says Initial Coin Offerings May Be Covered by Securities Law On September 11, U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie … Continue Reading

Cryptocurrency Derivatives, Funds and Advisers: Key Considerations Under U.S. Commodity Laws (Part 1 – Cryptos Are Commodities (Except When They Are Not))

This post originally appeared in The Derivatives and Repo Report, and can be accessed here.: In this multi-part posting, we outline key considerations for investment funds and their advisers regarding the application of the U.S commodity laws to cryptocurrency derivatives.   Part 1 focuses on the status of cryptocurrencies as commodities and how that status relates … Continue Reading

SEC Staff Rejects Bitcoin Futures Based ETFs – Commission Stays Rejections Pending Its Review

For those of you who have been following along thus far, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets (“SEC Staff”) have been wrestling since December 2017 with whether to approve or disapprove exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) that invest in bitcoin futures contracts.  On August 22, 2018, the SEC Staff decided … Continue Reading

Why Blockchain Custody Is So Difficult—A Hard Part

“Why Blockchain Custody Is So Difficult—A Hard Part” was recently posted on Perkins Coie’s Asset Management ADVocate blog. The blog post continues the analysis of the difficult question of how to comply with regulations requiring independent custody of cryptocurrency. This series focuses on the custody requirements for registered investment companies in an attempt to respond … Continue Reading
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