Just like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is actively policing the virtual currency market.  On January 24, 2018, the CFTC announced an enforcement action against two individuals and a company, My Big Coin Pay, Inc., for fraudulently offering the sale of a “fully functioning” virtual currency. Press Release, CFTC Charges Randall Crater, Mark Gillespie, and My Big Coin Pay, Inc. with Fraud and Misappropriation in Ongoing Virtual Currency Scam (Jan. 24, 2018), http://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/pr7678-18
Continue Reading CFTC Flexes Its Regulatory Muscle in a Case Involving a Virtual Currency

On January 19, 2018, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in response to a question, warned that a U.S. person’s acquisition of, or dealing in, a cryptocurrency that Venezuela intends to issue in the future may violate OFAC sanctions.  In an effort to refinance the country’s soaring debt, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás

The SEC is targeting ICOs once again, but it is now adding more focus through its new Enforcement Division Cyber Unit.

  • In its enforcement settlement with Munchee, Inc., the SEC looked past the utility of a “utility token” in its “securities” analysis and instead focused on aspects such as marketing and the existence of a

On Friday, December 1, 2017, the SEC filed an emergency action in federal district court in Brooklyn alleging that Dominic Lacroix and Sabrina Paradis-Roger, both from Quebec, Canada, raised approximately $15 million in a purported fraudulent unregistered Initial Coin Offering (ICO) involving PlexCoin.  In its complaint, the SEC alleged that a recidivist Quebec securities law

On September 21st, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced the filing of charges against Nicholas Gelfman and Gelfman Blueprint, Inc. (the “Defendants”) for fraud, misappropriation, and issuing false account statements in connection with solicited investments in Bitcoin.  According to the allegations asserted by the CFTC, the Defendants operated a Ponzi scheme, misappropriated funds from

Under the impact of the Chinese government’s recent formal notices of halting ICOs, Notice 99 and Joint Notice released on September 2, 2017 and September 4, 2017 respectively [1], Beijing authorities have taken further actions and held meetings with Beijing-based trading platforms with regard to a trading halt on September 15, 2017, following Shanghai’s “verbal notice” of a trading halt and the Shanghai-based exchange BTCChina’s sudden announcement of a halt to its trading on September 14, 2017.
Continue Reading Beijing-Based Cryptocurrency Trading Exchanges Told to Announce Trading Halt

On June 30, 2017, the SEC and the U.S. Attorney brought parallel civil and criminal fraud charges against Renwick Haddow, the owner of an unregistered broker-dealer entity named In Crowd Equity Inc., and two corporate entities named Bitcoin Store, Inc. and Bar Works, Inc. (SEC Litigation Release, US Attorney Press Release) In

Below is a summary of some of the significant legal, regulatory and industry 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

Regulatory Developments

CFPB Declines to Make

The SEC announced yesterday a settlement with Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT) and SecondMarket, Inc. (SecondMarket).  According to the Administrative Order, the SEC claims that BIT and SecondMarket redeemed BIT shares during an ongoing distribution and, therefore, violated Rules 101 and 102 of Regulation M.
Continue Reading SEC Settles Charges With FinTech Companies in Unlawful Redemption of Bitcoin Investment Trust Shares During Distribution