Switzerland’s Third Largest Bank Plans to Introduce Crypto-Related Services

The trend of established banks partnering with technology companies to offer digital asset-related services continues in Switzerland.  Around the end of February 2019, Julius Baer, one of Switzerland’s largest and oldest banks, announced plans to offer access to digital assets through a partnership with SEBA Crypto, a Swiss-based start-up. This development follows similar arrangements between technology companies and other established banks such as Falcon Private Bank, Vontobel, and Gazprombank. This

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Banking, Cryptoassets, Regulation, Switzerland

Foreign Trading Platform and Its CEO to Pay $990,000 for Illegal Bitcoin-Related Transactions with U.S. Customers

On March 11, 2019, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it had entered into a Consent Order resolving a CFTC action against 1pool Ltd., located in the Marshall Islands, and its chief executive officer and owner, Patrick Brunner, for illegally offering retail commodity transactions that were margined in bitcoin, failing to register as a futures commission merchant (FCM), and failing to meet its supervisory duties by not

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AML, CFTC, FCM, SEC, US

Distributed Ledger Technologies and Smart Contracts in Italy

The Italian Parliament recently introduced distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) into the Italian legal system. Law Decree No. 135/2018 – which was passed into law on February 7 by the Italian Parliament – provides a precise definition of DLTs as “technologies and IT protocols using a shared, distributed, replicable and simultaneously accessible ledger, decentralized and encrypted, which enable the registration, validation, updating and storage of data, whether encrypted or not, which

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Distributed Ledger Technology, Italy, Smart Contracts

U.S. SEC Encourages Self-Reporting in ICO Registration Violation Case

On February 20, 2019 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) reached a settlement with Gladius Network LLC for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering (“ICO”), which the company self-reported to the SEC. In July 2017, Gladius’s founders began developing a network in which participants could rent spare bandwidth and storage space on their computers and servers to others for use in defense against certain types of cyberattacks and to

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Enforcement, ICO, SEC, US

FCA Finally Speaks on Crypto: UK Regulator Clarifies Regulatory Perimeter for Cryptoassets

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has published draft guidance for market players in the developing cryptoassets sector (see CP19/3). This follows a report published last autumn by the UK’s Cryptoasset Taskforce (consisting of the FCA, PRA and Treasury) that explores the UK’s approach to cryptoassets and distributed ledger technology. The FCA has been a relatively late mover in producing practical guidance on crypto compared to other regulators internationally, but was

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Cryptoassets, Exchange Token, FCA, Security Token, UK, Utility Token

US Congress Inches Forward on Laws for Cryptocurrencies

House bills with bipartisan support would direct regulators to examine new ways to oversee digital assets and protect them from manipulation, as some lawmakers strive to make financial technologies more mainstream.  One bill, the “U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2019” (H.R. 923), would direct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), consulting with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies, to report to committees including Senate

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CFTC, Legislation, US

SEC’s Supposed Setback on Token Issue Now Reversed

In November 2018, a U.S. District Court declined to accept the SEC’s argument that an ICO token was a “security.”  There are those who saw this as a setback for the SEC, although, as we wrote on this blog, that was an error because the judge merely held that he needed more evidence to resolve disputed questions of fact.  In the face of a request by the SEC for reconsideration,

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ICO, SEC, US

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in Africa

Baker McKenzie is pleased to announce that the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency in Africa report is now available. This guide summarizes the latest and key developments taking place in 22 selected African jurisdictions in respect of blockchain and cryptocurrency, focusing on the regulatory approaches up until the end of 2018. This guide also provides a comparative assessment of the stance adopted by such regulators, with a view to providing a better understanding

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Africa, Cryptocurrency

Crypto Garage Becomes First FinTech Participant in Japan’s Regulatory Sandbox

In June 2018, the Government of Japan introduced a framework under the Act on Special Measures for Productivity Improvement (seisansei koujou tokubetsu sochi hou) to encourage innovation through a project- based ‘regulatory sandbox’.  The purpose was to create an environment in which businesses can conduct proof of concept and pilot testing for new technologies and business models that are not covered by existing regulations.  The aim is to facilitate the

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Blockchain, Japan, Sandbox

What To Expect When Litigating Smart Contract Disputes

The blockchain phenomenon has brought an ever increasing use of smart contracts.  Those contracts raise numerous issue for disputes lawyers.  Some are variations of old themes.  But others are unique to developing technologies.  Our ” What To Expect When Litigating Smart Contract Disputes” article looks at both sets of issues.

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DAO, Smart Contracts, US
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