U.S. Developments

Veritaseum Founder Provides Response to Asset Freeze Order

Responding to an emergency application filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued an order on August 12, 2019, freezing Veritaseum accounts and digital assets and ordering founder Reggie Middleton to provide a response to the SEC’s allegations. On the day of the filing, defense counsel asked for permission to file a response prior to a ruling being issued. The Court ruled the same day. On August 19, Mr. Middleton filed a response with the court defending against the SEC’s claims of securities fraud stating among other things that the SEC did not have any evidence that he was attempting to hide company funds by transferring digital assets from one account to another, which Mr. Middleton claimed was done to fund Veritaseum operations.
Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review: Week of August 19-23, 2019

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 an inherent tension between blockchain technology and the GDPR, particularly with respect to data subject rights and data storage limitation principles.  Therefore, the CNIL guidance provides some welcome clarification on how it views these inherent tensions, although the CNIL left open certain important issues that will require deeper analysis and explanation in the future.  The summary below has been updated to reflect the English translation of the CNIL guidance released on November 8, 2018. Our high-level takeaways based on the CNIL guidance are as follows:

  • The legal analysis of whether the GDPR applies to a blockchain must be conducted on a participant-by-participant basis. Some participants on a blockchain may be subject to the GDPR while others may not.
  • The greater the ability of a participant to intervene and influence blockchain transactions, the more likely such a participant is subject to the GDPR.
  • Whether a participant is a controller or a processor as such terms are defined under the GDPR is a determination based on the particular facts and circumstances, influenced by the architecture of the blockchain and the types of users who engage with it.
  • Data minimization principles apply to some but not all aspects of blockchain technology. Notably, there is no data minimization requirement for public addresses and public keys.


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

Below is a summary of some of the significant legal and regulatory actions that occurred over the past weeks. 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.  Please visit our sister blog, FintechLegalReport, for the Fintech

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.
Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review – December 22, 2017

Some estimates calculate that over 23 billion “things” were connected through the internet in 2016. This number is projected to rise to over 50 billion by 2020. The broad category is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), and the new technology connects everything, from household devices to cars to industrial machinery, to the internet

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

Litigation Updates

CFTC Files Civil Action Over Alleged Fraudulent Scheme
On September 21st, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) announced the filing of claims 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 investors, and took steps to conceal losses (including by staging a “hack” on its computer systems designed to conceal what were actually trading losses and depletion of funds due to misappropriation).

Notably, this enforcement action (1) articulates the CFTC’s position that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are encompassed in the definition of a “commodity,” under
Continue Reading Blockchain Week in Review – October 13, 2017

Earlier this morning, CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo testified before the House Agricultural Committee. The following are highlights of “Fin Tech” issues addressed during the course of that testimony. Continue reading “FinTech Highlights from CFTC Chairman Giancarlo’s Testimony Before House Agricultural Committee” from the FinTech Report here.

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