Digital currency is an exciting, dynamic and growing technology changing the financial and legal landscapes. To keep pace, corporate counsel must stay abreast of new rules, new regulations, and new applications of blockchain technology. Recognizing this need, Digital Currency + Blockchain Perspectives chronicles industry news, including regulatory developments and other issues affecting our clients and the digital currency industry.

On Motion for Reconsideration, SEC Granted Preliminary Injunction Against Cryptocurrency Exchange and its Founder for Acts of Alleged ICO Fraud

On February 14, 2019, the Southern District of California entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting Blockvest, LLC (“Blockvest”), a company set up to exchange cryptocurrencies, and its founder, Reginald Buddy Ringgold, III (“Ringgold”), from violating an anti-fraud provision of the federal securities laws. The decision came following the court’s initial denial…

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SEC Settles With Gladius Networks for Unregistered ICO; Declines to Issue Monetary Fine Due to Self-Reporting

On February 20, 2019, the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued an Order Instituting Cease-And-Desist Proceedings Pursuant To Section 8a Of The Securities Act Of 1933, Making Findings, And Imposing A Cease-And-Desist Order (“Order”) [1] against Gladius Network LLC (“Gladius”) for an initial coin offering…

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Basis Stablecoin Shuts Down Due To What it Deems A “Serious Negative Impact” of U.S. Securities Regulations

Basis, one of the most well-funded crypto-startups, had plans to create an algorithmic central bank that aimed to create a price-stable cryptocurrency within a decentralized monetary system. In its April 2018 fundraising efforts, Basis had secured $133 million in funding from large institutional investors.  However, citing regulatory constraints, Basis announced…

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SEC Issues Guidance Regarding Application Of Securities Laws to Blockchain Technologies

On November 16, 2018, the Divisions of Corporation Finance, Investment Management, and Trading and Markets of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a Statement on Digital Asset Securities Issuance and Trading, summarizing recent SEC enforcement actions “involving the intersection of long-standing applications of our federal securities laws and…

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SEC Reaches First Settlement in connection with an Unregistered Crypto Exchange

On November 8, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it settled charges against Zachary Coburn, the founder of blockchain token trading platform EtherDelta, over operating an unregistered securities exchange1. The SEC’s cease-and-desist order to Coburn describes EtherDelta’s website as a user-friendly interface resembling online securities trading…

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A Second Federal Court Decides Virtual Currencies are Commodities Subject to Federal Regulation

On September 26, 2018, a federal judge in Massachusetts agreed with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (“CFTC”) view that virtual currencies are commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and subject to federal regulation.  See CFTC v. My Big Coin Pay, Inc., No. CV 18-10077-RWZ, 2018 WL 4621727 (D. Mass….

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The National Law Journal Names Goodwin’s Mitzi Chang + Grant Fondo 2018 Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Fintech Trailblazers

The National Law Journal named partners Grant Fondo and Mitzi Chang to its 2018 Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and FinTech Trailblazers list. This inaugural award recognizes lawyers who are making great strides as finance and technology grow more and more entwined. Please click here to read The National Law Journal’s profile on Fondo and Chang.

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FinCEN Director Addresses Bureau’s Approach to Digital Currency and Financial Innovation

On August 9, 2018, Kenneth A. Blanco, Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), delivered remarks at the 2018 (Legal) Tech Conference at Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology.  Director Blanco’s remarks focused on FinCEN’s approach with respect to digital currency and financial innovation.  Several days…

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