Category: General Developments/Background

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SEC and U.S. Attorney’s Office Bring Action Against Promoter of Bitcoin Store, Inc.

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 InCrowd Equity Inc., and two corporate entities named Bitcoin Store, Inc. and Bar Works, Inc. (SEC Litigation Release, US Attorney Press Release)} In addition to filing the civil … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review – June 16, 2017

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 Regulatory Updates Illinois Regulators Determine that Digital … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review – May 26, 2017

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 Regulatory Updates Vermont Law Recognizes Digital Currency … Continue Reading

Guilt by Association: Bitcoin and the WannaCry Ransomware Attack

The recent so-called “WannaCry” ransomware cyber-extortion attack has thrust bitcoin as a means of payment back into the debate surrounding illegal online activity. Much in the way that the internet, in its early days, was seen as a tool useful only for crime, pornography, and other socially unacceptable activities, so too are bitcoin and other … Continue Reading

Two New White Papers Exploring Use Cases and Legal Issues of Distributed Ledger Technology-Based Smart Contracts and Self-Sovereign Identity Systems

We are pleased to release two in-depth white papers discussing cutting-edge legal and technology issues applicable to smart contracts and self-sovereign identity systems. In the smart contracts white paper, Dax Hansen, Partner and Chair of the Blockchain and Digital Currency Industry Group, and Carla Reyes, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the Stetson University College of … Continue Reading

Washington — B&O Taxation of Unredeemed Gift Cards

The Washington State Department of Revenue has just issued a draft Excise Tax Advisory (“ETA”) (will be hyperlinked to the attached document) in which it concludes that unredeemed gift card receipts (e.g., breakage) which are taken into income should be reported as subject to service B&O tax.  (As a reminder, in 2004, the Washington legislature … Continue Reading

New Whitepaper Published: Treatment of Bitcoin Under U.S. Property Law

In this recently published Perkins Coie whitepaper, the authors analyze the treatment of bitcoin under applicable U.S. property law.  The authors conclude that property interests should exist in bitcoin under such law, and that multiple sources of persuasive authority provide additional support for that conclusion. The paper is divided into 5 parts: Treatment of bitcoin … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week In Review – January 6, 2017

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 FDIC Seeks Comments on Proposed Handbook for … Continue Reading

Blockchain Syndicated Loans as Uncertificated Securities

Blockchain Loans as Uncertificated Securities In a previous post, I examined the risk that efforts to employ distributed ledger technology to trade syndicated loans could result in their reclassification as “securities” for purposes of federal securities laws. I will now explain why such a system may need to treat blockchain syndicated loans as “securities” for … Continue Reading

Could Blockchain Push Syndicated Loans Over the Regulatory Edge

Some banks are hard at work applying distributed ledger technology to trading syndicated loan transactions. Their system would make it easier than ever to invest in syndicated bank loans. At some point, the combination of widespread holdings and a major default could force a reassessment of whether syndicated loans traded over the new system are … Continue Reading

OCC Moves Forward With Plans to Develop Bank Charters for Fintech Firms

On December 2, 2016, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) announced its intention to move forward with considering applications from financial technology (“FinTech”) companies to become special purpose national banks. In his prepared remarks at the Georgetown University Law Center announcing the release of a new white paper entitled, “Exploring Special Purpose … Continue Reading

SEC Hosts First Ever FinTech Forum

On November 14, 2016, the SEC convened four panels of individuals at the forefront of the FinTech industry to address the rapid growth of recent innovations in FinTech. Panelists addressed how these innovations impact four main areas: investment advisory services; trading, settlement, and clearance activities; capital formation; and investor protection. The over-arching theme of the … Continue Reading

Could Blockchain Push Syndicated Loans over the Regulatory Edge?

Banks are exploring using blockchain to increase the efficiency of trading syndicated loans. The hope is to increase the liquidity and transparency of the secondary market for loans. The risk is that their efforts will be so successful that the loans may lose their historical exemption from the registration and anti-fraud provisions of the Securities … Continue Reading

Cryptocurrency Platform Provider Seeks No-Action Relief from CFTC: Two Observations

On October 18th, a cryptocurrency platform provider (Poloniex, Inc.) issued a press release announcing that it filed a request for no-action relief with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) seeking request with respect to the CFTC’s laws as they relate to margin and lending transactions. To our knowledge, this is first time that a … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review – October 14, 2016

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 … Continue Reading

Blockchain Week in Review – September 30, 2016

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 OCC Proposes Rollout of a Limited-Purpose FinTech … Continue Reading

SDNY Opinion re: Bitcoin

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York issued a decision yesterday finding that bitcoins are money under the plain meaning of Section 1960, the federal money transmission statute. In July 2015, Anthony Murgio and two others defendants were arrested and charged with operating an illegal bitcoin exchange – Coin.mx. Murgio … Continue Reading

UPDATE: California Bill Has Been Withdrawn

Last week, California legislators introduced an amended AB 1326, which substantially changed California’s proposed bill addressing procedures and regulations of digital currency businesses. After a second reading in the California Senate, this bill has been re-referred to the Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions for additional comment. See California Legislative Status on AB-1326. Industry leaders, … Continue Reading

Recent Blockchain Legal Panel held in Seattle

On June 20, Dax Hansen and Carla Reyes from Perkins Coie LLP spoke at a Blockchain Legal Panel in Seattle. The panel, hosted by blockchain technology leaders and entrepreneurs, discussed the legal implications and concerns facing blockchain technologies. Topics included the regulatory climate, personal liability, and the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). View the discussion here.… Continue Reading

CFTC to Hold Meeting of Technology Advisory Committee on January 26th to Discuss Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology

Earlier today, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) published a notice announcing that its Technology Advisory Committee (“TAC”) will hold a public meeting on January 26th to discuss issues related to blockchain and the potential application of distributed ledger technology to the derivatives market. Learn more about what this meeting will cover on the … Continue Reading

Are Mining Pool Interests Securities?

On December 1st the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against bitcoin mining companies GAW Miners and ZenMiner, and their founder Homero Joshua Garza.  The complaint alleges Garza and his companies fraudulently sold $19 million worth of unregistered securities, called Hashlets, to over 10,000 investors in the latter half of 2014.  The SEC believes … Continue Reading

Bitcoin Weekly Updates – Did you see last week’s update?

For coverage of weekly regulatory news, be sure to visit Bitcoin Week in Review. Last week’s update discussed the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) draft version of a model law that will guide states in creating regulation for virtual currencies, a warning from Ukraine’s National Bank and the collaboration of Europol and Interpol at the Europol Cybercrime Conference.… Continue Reading

3…The Number of Weeks in a Row for Bitcoin Related CFTC Guidance…CFTC Settles With Bitcoin SEF Over Wash Sales / Prearranged Trading

On September 24th, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) settled charges against TeraExchange LLC, a provisionally registered bitcoin swap execution facility (SEF). The charges stem from a non-deliverable forward (“NDF”) contract based on the relative value of the U.S. Dollar and Bitcoin (the Bitcoin swap) executed over that SEF. Background: Forwards and NDFs A … Continue Reading
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