SEC

U.S. v. Zaslavskiy: DOJ and SEC Coordination in Enforcing the Securities Laws over Token Sales

In the fall of 2017, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) each filed actions against Maksim Zaslavskiy for securities fraud in connection with two token offerings, through which he promised token purchasers profits from his companies’ investments in real estate and diamonds. …

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SEC Sues Longfin Over Trades Following Acquisition of Cryptocurrency Company

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week sued Longfin Corp., a financial technology company that recently entered the cryptocurrency space, as well as Longfin’s CEO and three others affiliated with the company.  The complaint, filed in federal court in Manhattan, was unsealed on April 6, 2018, when the SEC…

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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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ICOs in 2018: Increased Regulatory Scrutiny, and Alternatives to Traditional "Utility" Token ICOs

As originally published by Brave New Coin, January 19, 2018. As we transition from 2017 into 2018, there has been an increase in SEC and state regulator activity in the area of Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), as the agencies seek to determine (i) whether certain ICOs constitute a sale of unregistered securities;…

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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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BitConnect and the Advent of State Securities Enforcement Over ICOs

In the wake of the SEC’s clarifying guidance in Munchee[1] regarding the application of the federal securities laws to initial coin offerings (“ICOs”), there has been increased activity among both federal and state regulators as they seek to deter what they deem to be sales of unregistered securities in the…

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Massachusetts Securities Regulator Announces "Aggressive Policing" of Cryptocurrency Firms

On December 15, 2017, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin announced that his office’s Securities Division (“MSD”) would begin “aggressive policing” of cryptocurrency sales in Massachusetts.  The MSD regulates the offering and sale of securities in Massachusetts.  The MSD can seek a range of civil remedies for violation of the…

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The Future of Bitcoin is Here (Literally): Crypto Derivatives Have Gone Mainstream!

Major derivatives market operators CBOE Holdings and CME Group have jumped into the digital currency fray within the last two weeks by launching cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts (1).  The exchanges recently cleared de facto regulatory hurdles when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced the completion of the exchanges’ “self-certification”…

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SEC Issues Warning Regarding Celebrity-Promoted Coin Offerings and Moves Swiftly Against Unregistered ICOs

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued two warnings about investments sold on the basis of celebrity endorsements, including one relating to initial coin offerings (ICOs), and followed up with enforcement actions against unregistered ICOs. Investors can be misled by biased promotions. Receipt of cash or other consideration in…

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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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