Digital Currency

State and Federal Regulators Coordinate Efforts to Combat Crypto Fraud

This past week was a busy one for state securities regulators, the CFTC and the SEC as they continue their focus on rooting out fraud from the digital currency space and crypto- and blockchain-based ventures.  Noteworthy developments included (1) the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announcing a “cryptosweep” –…

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New York Department Of Financial Services Issues Crypto Guidance; Outlines Enhanced Reporting Requirements

On February 7, 2018, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NY DFS) issued guidance to all virtual currency businesses that maintain a “BitLicense” or that are chartered as a limited purpose trust company under New York Banking Law (collectively, VC Entities), including those that maintain a money transmitter…

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SEC Exams To Focus On ICOs And Cryptocurrency

On February 7, 2018, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) announced its 2018 Examination Priorities.  In what comes as no surprise, the exam priorities include initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency, stating the following: “The cryptocurrency and ICO markets have grown rapidly and present a number of…

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SEC and CFTC Enforcement Directors Issue Joint Statement Regarding Virtual Currency Enforcement Actions

On January 19, 2018, SEC Co-Enforcement Directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin and CFTC Enforcement Director James McDonald issued the following joint statement regarding virtual currency enforcement actions: “When market participants engage in fraud under the guise of offering digital instruments – whether characterized as virtual currencies, coins, tokens, or…

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FINRA Targets ICOs and Digital Currencies in Annual Broker Exam Priorities Letter

On January 8, 2018, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released its 2018 Annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter (Exam Priorities Letter) for its broker-dealer members.  In the Exam Priorities Letter, FINRA addresses initial coin offerings (ICOs) and digital currencies, stating the following: “FINRA will closely monitor developments in this…

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ICO Participant Liability - Could you be Liable for Assisting in the Sale of Unregistered Securities?

As published in Bloomberg BNA’s Securities Regulation & Law Report, December 18, 2017 An initial coin offering (“ICO”) does not happen on its own. Rather, there are companies and individuals that assist in successful token sales. These can include ICO consultants, marketing firms, board members, partners at private equity and…

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Israeli Regulators to Decide Regulatory Fate of ICOs in December

On August 30, 2017, the Israeli equivalent of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Israeli Security Authority (“ISA”) announced it had formed a committee to study whether, and how, to apply Israeli securities laws to initial coin offerings (“ICOs”).  Specifically, the ISA stated it would examine six issues related…

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CFTC Reaffirms Stance on Digital Currencies; Expresses View on DLT and ICOs

Pursuant to its LabCFTC initiative, the regulator issued a FinTech Primer on virtual currencies, including addressing the jurisdictional reach of the CFTC and the SEC (and potential overlap). Several questions remain regarding the already uncertain status of ICOs under the federal securities and commodities laws and regulations. WHAT HAPPENED? On…

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