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.

New York Department of Financial Services Announces New Virtual Currency Initiatives

On June 24, 2020, New York’s Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) announced a series of steps it is taking to promote development and opportunities in the virtual currency space.  These actions would build upon New York’s “BitLicense,” a virtual currency licensing regime implemented in 2015 that establishes minimum standards for…

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SEC Commissioner Peirce Not Skating Around Her Views on Telegram Settlement

Never one to hold back, especially when it comes to crypto and blockchain matters, SEC Commissioner Peirce recently explained her views on the SEC’s settlement with Telegram and the agency’s approach to regulating the crypto and blockchain ecosphere generally. Simply put, Peirce disagreed with the Telegram settlement.  In her words:…

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OCC Confirms National Banks And Federal Savings Associations May Provide Cryptocurrency Custody

On July 22, 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued an interpretive letter confirming that national banks and federal savings associations (banks) may provide cryptocurrency custody services to customers. The conclusion that banks may provide such services is not surprising, because banks have long provided safekeeping…

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FINRA (Again) Encourages Members to Report Digital Asset Activities

U.S. broker-dealer activity involving digital assets could implicate various FINRA rules in addition to federal and state securities laws and SEC rules.  As most readers likely know by now, whether this activity is of interest to or subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. securities regulators (both federal and state) largely…

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SEC Wins Injunctive Relief To Prevent Telegram's Distribution of $1.7B Worth of Cryptocurrency

In a recent decision in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Telegram Group Inc. and TON Issuer Inc., the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a motion for a preliminary injunction by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), thereby preventing the distribution to purchasers of…

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Goodwin Releases Publication Covering Recent U.S. Regulatory and Legal Developments in Digital Currency + Blockchain

2019 was a year of significant regulatory and legal developments in digital currency + blockchain. The SEC issued its most comprehensive guidance to date with its Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets, followed that up with three “no action” letters for projects that in its view complied with…

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SEC Commissioner Peirce Proposes Safe Harbor for Blockchain Developers

Speaking at the International Blockchain Congress in Chicago on February 6, 2020, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce proposed a safe harbor from U.S. securities laws so that developers of blockchain protocols could offer and sell tokens for the purpose of developing functioning token networks and creating liquidity for users. Commissioner Peirce’s…

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SEC Deems Digital-Currency Investment Vehicle a Reporting Company

On January 21, 2020, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (the “Trust”) became the first digital currency investment vehicle to attain the status of an SEC reporting company. The Trust’s sponsor, Grayscale Investments, LLC (“Grayscale”), is a digital currency asset manager that offers cryptocurrency investment products that provide exposure to Bitcoin and Ethereum, among…

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Replacing Traditional Capitalization Tables with Blockchain-Based Ledgers

Delaware amended the Delaware General Corporation Law (DGCL) and the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act (DLLCA) in 2017 and 2018, respectively, to permit corporations and limited liability companies to represent capital stock, record equity transactions, and communicate with equityholders via blockchain-based distributed ledgers. (S. 69, 149th Gen. Assembly, Del. 2017;…

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