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.

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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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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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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See You At TokenFest!

Goodwin is a proud sponsor of TokenFest, taking place March 15 & 16, 2018 in San Francisco, CA. Mitzi Chang, a partner in Goodwin’s Digital Currency + Blockchain Technology practice, will be a featured speaker on a panel of legal experts discussing compliance and regulation for token crowd sales. For…

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New Year Brings Flurry of Regulatory Statements and Warnings Directed at Cryptocurrencies and ICOs

On the same day that a meteorological blizzard slammed the Eastern Seaboard, U.S. financial regulators unleashed their own flurry of statements and warnings surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies.  Bundle up, because if the first week of the year is a prelude of things to come, then 2018 is…

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SEC Alerts On Initial Coin Offerings Are The Two Most Popular For 2017 (3 Of The Top 10 Overall)

The SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy recently issued a bulletin listing its 10 most popular Investor Alerts and Bulletins for 2017.  Numbers 1 (Initial Coin Offerings) and 2 (Public Companies Making ICO-related Claims) specifically related to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and number 9 (Celebrity Endorsements) arguably was also…

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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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