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.

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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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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