Pakistan and India Ban Banks from Using Cryptocurrency

Last Thursday, India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, issued a statement providing that the banks and financial institutions it oversees would no longer be allowed to work with cryptocurrency exchanges and other related services. The Statement says: Reserve Bank has repeatedly cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including Bitcoins, regarding various risks associated in dealing with such virtual currencies. In view of the associated risks, it

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Cryptocurrency, India, Pakistan

U.S. SEC Obtains Emergency Freeze of $27 Million in Stock Sales of Purported Cryptocurrency Company Longfin

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a court order freezing more than $27 million in trading proceeds from allegedly illegal distributions and sales of restricted shares of Longfin Corp. stock involving the company, its CEO, and three other affiliated individuals. According to a complaint unsealed last Friday in federal court in Manhattan, shortly after Longfin began trading on NASDAQ and announced the acquisition of a purported cryptocurrency business, its

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Cryptocurrency, Litigation, SEC, Securities, US

Class Action Lawsuit Brought Against Nano

A class action lawsuit was brought today on behalf of investors in Nano f/k/a RaiBlocks (XRB), alleging, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, that Nano and key members of its core team violated federal securities laws and that, in their push to introduce XRB to a wide market of investors, recklessly directed investors to open accounts and place their assets with a little known, and severely troubled, Italian cryptocurrency exchange called

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Cryptocurrency, ICO, Litigation, Securities, US

U.S. Government to Include Digital Currency Addresses on List of Sanctioned Parties

What’s changed The U.S. Government is considering adding digital currency addresses affiliated with individuals and entities identified to the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”).  This would put U.S. persons on notice that doing business with those digital addresses may be prohibited, increasing compliance considerations for businesses delving into the world of virtual currency. What it means for you On March 19, 2018, the U.S. Office

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AML, Cryptocurrency, OFAC, US

U.S. SEC Brings Civil and Criminal Charges Against Founders of Centra Cryptocurrency Firm

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it charged two co-founders of a purported financial services start-up with orchestrating a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) that raised more than $32 million from thousands of investors last year. Criminal authorities separately charged and arrested both defendants. The SEC’s complaint alleges that Sohrab “Sam” Sharma and Robert Farkas, co-founders of Centra Tech., Inc., masterminded a fraudulent ICO in which Centra

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Cryptocurrency, ICO, Litigation, SEC, Securities, US

Blockchain and Competition Law: Blockchain Must Not be a Solution Looking for a Problem

There is huge interest in the potential of blockchain to transform business processes and generate commercial efficiencies and cost savings across a whole host of business sectors. Mindful of the risks, and as long as antitrust law is considered from an early stage, it is perfectly possible to develop and implement a pro-competitive blockchain platform. Above all though, a blockchain platform must have a genuine, justifiable commercial purpose: an antitrust

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Massachusetts Regulator Halts Five ICOs

The office of Massachusetts Secretary of State announced today that it had halted ICOs from five companies, claiming that the sale of digital tokens amounts to the unregistered offering of securities.  Mattervest Inc, Pink Ribbon ICO, Across Platforms Inc, Sparkco Inc and 18 Moons were all ordered to  stop sales of their coins.  The firms, which were all either incorporated in Massachusetts or named the state as their principal place

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ICO, Litigation, Securities, US

Twitter Joins Google and Facebook in Banning Cryptocurrency Ads

Reuters reported that, starting tomorrow,  Twitter will ban cryptocurrency ads.  The prohibition will cover advertising of ICOS and ads by cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency wallet services, unless they are public companies listed on certain major stock markets.  Facebook banned ads promoting cryptocurrencies in January.  Earlier this month, Google announced that its ban of  cryptocurrency-related content, including ICOs, wallets, and trading advice, would go into effect in June.

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Cryptocurrency, ICO

Tennessee Recognizes Blockchain and Smart Contracts

Tennessee enacted a law yesterday that recognizes “the legal authority to use blockchain technology and smart contracts in conducting electronic transactions.” Under the new legislation, “A signature that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic signature.” With respect to smart contracts, the law defines it as “an event-driven program, that runs on a distributed, decentralized, shared, and replicated ledger

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Smart Contracts, US

U.S. Government May Include Digital Currency Addresses on List of Sanctioned Parties

OFAC, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, is the financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department that administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions.  On March 19, 2018, the OFAC updated its FAQs to include a section on virtual currency.  In the new section, OFAC provides guidance about the various money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with virtual currency, and goes on to state that it

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Cryptocurrency, OFAC, US