UK Statement on Legal Status of Cryptoassets and Smart Contracts

A UK Government-backed, industry-led initiative has published an expert legal statement recognising cryptoassets as property and smart contracts as enforceable agreements under English law. The statement is published by the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (UKJT), a taskforce of the UK’s Lawtech Delivery Panel. The report concludes that: Cryptoassets are, in principle, to be treated as property under English law. They are not disqualified from being property by their distinctive features (intangibility,

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Cryptoassets, Smart Contracts, UK

Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission Announces New Framework for Regulating Virtual Asset Trading Platforms

The Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC“) has taken another major step towards establishing a regulatory framework for virtual asset trading platforms, and is now inviting licensing applications from platform operators who are willing and able to comply with new licensing criteria and continuing compliance requirements outlined in the SFC’s recently published Position Paper – Regulation of virtual asset trading platforms (“Position Paper“). Licensing applications are open from 6 November 2019.

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Cryptoassets, Hong Kong, Securities and Futures Commission, Uncategorized

U.S. Prosecutors Indict President of Purported Intergovernmental Organization for Cryptocurrency Scheme

On November 6, 2019, U.S. prosecutors in the Southern District of New York announced charges against Asa Saint Clair for his participation in an investment scheme tied to a purported digital coin offering called IGOBIT.  Saint Clair allegedly participated in a scheme to defraud victims into providing loans tied to the launch of IGOBIT by World Sports Alliance, a purported intergovernmental organization focused on promoting international development through sports, and

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Criminal, Fraud, US

UK FCA Reminds Crypto-Asset Firms to Prepare for AML/CTF Regime

Implementation of the EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive on 10 January 2020 is now fast approaching. To the Financial Conduct Authority’s long list of responsibilities has been added the role of anti-money laundering (AML) supervisor of UK crypto-asset businesses. With this in mind, the FCA has published a new webpage setting out key information for businesses. This includes the crypto-asset activities likely to fall within scope although these will not be definitely

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AML, FCA, UK

Taxing Cryptocurrencies in the UK: New Guidance

The UK tax authority, HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”), published, on November 1, 2019 guidance for companies and businesses on how tax transactions involving cryptoasset exchange tokens (such as Bitcoin) will be taxed. This covers liability to corporation tax, capital gains tax, employment taxes, VAT and stamp duties. Much will depend on whether or not the activity involving exchange tokens amounts to trading or not. Following are the key points

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Cryptocurrency, Tax, UK

Ukraine Focuses on Promoting a Blockchain Friendly Ecosystem

A number of recent developments in Ukraine have demonstrated the country’s focus on promoting a blockchain friendly ecosystem. At a government level, the recently established Ministry of Digital Transformation (MDT) (available in Ukrainian only) is actively promoting a friendly regulatory environment for blockchain/cryptocurrency projects in Ukraine, in both the public and private sectors. To further this aim, the MDT has kicked off various initiatives in order to promote blockchain, including

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Cryptocurrency, Ukraine

The IRS Issues Income Tax Guidance Dealing with Cryptocurrency Hard Forks and Airdrop

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) released Revenue Ruling 2019-24 on October 9, 2019 providing guidance on the U.S. income tax treatment of hard forks and airdrops of cryptocurrency.  Revenue Rulings are an official interpretation of the U.S. tax laws by the IRS and intended to guide taxpayers in addressing their income reporting and tax obligations.  This Revenue Ruling supplements the first and only cryptocurrency-related guidance issued by the IRS

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Airdrop, Hard Fork, IRS, Tax, US

SEC Enjoins Telegram Token Offering

On October 11, 2019 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it has filed an emergency action and obtained temporary restraining order against two offshore entities conducting an alleged unregistered, ongoing digital token offering in the U.S. and overseas that has raised more than $1.7 billion of investor funds. According to the SEC’s complaint, Telegram Group Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary TON Issuer Inc. began raising capital in January

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ICO, SEC, US

CFTC Says Ether is a Commodity

Last December, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued  a public call for feedback to “better inform the Commission’s understanding” of the Ethereum network and the cryptocurrency ether.  The CFTC said input would better inform the agency in the event that market participants submit proposals to list new cryptocurrency-based futures or derivatives products. The CFTC has already recognized the trading of Bitcoin-based derivatives. Speaking at the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit on Thursday October

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CFTC, Commodity, Ether, US

SEC Digital Asset Guidance a Boon For Investors Claiming XRP is Unregistered Security

A group of investors in Ripple’s cryptocurrency XRP filed an amended complaint exploiting recent guidance published by the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  The SEC’s “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets” provides guidance for evaluating whether a particular cryptocurrency has the characteristics of an “investment contract” and therefore subject to registration under federal securities laws.  The SEC’s

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Litigation, Ripple, SEC, Securities, US
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