Defendant Argues Cryptocurrency is Not Security

We have reported in this space about how the SEC has indicated that most ICOs probably qualify as securities under U.S. law. see 1-3 and 1-23.  One of the SEC’s first enforcement actions in this regard was against  Maksim Zaslavskiy for his two initial coin offerings allegedly marketed through his companies REcoin and Diamond Reserve Club.   That was followed by a criminal suit. Yesterday, Zaslavskiy sought to dismiss the criminal

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Cryptocurrency, ICO, Litigation, SEC, Securities, US

Public Consultation Open for Draft Cryptocurrency Anti-money Laundering Rules in Australia

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has recently published draft anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules (AML/CTF Rules) which are relevant to digital currency exchange service providers following the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Act 2017 (Act) in December 2017. The new laws are scheduled to come into effect on 13 June 2018.  Tthe Act introduces new laws to regulate digital currency exchange service

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AML, Australia, Cryptocurrency

Venezuela Launches the Petro

With most governments regularly issuing warnings against cryptocurrencies, Venezuela, on Tuesday, became the fist government to issue its own cryptocurrency, with the pre-launch of the Petro.  President Maduro announced on Twitter first-day presales of $735 million, though news outlets reported that the figure could not be substantiated.  The Venezuelan government says that each unit of the petro is pegged to the price of one barrel of Venezuelan oil. Many questions

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Cryptocurrency, Venezuela

U.S. SEC Charges Former Bitcoin-Denominated Exchange and Operator With Fraud

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former bitcoin-denominated platform and its operator with operating an unregistered securities exchange and defrauding users of that exchange.  The SEC also charged the operator with making false and misleading statements in connection with an unregistered offering of securities. The SEC alleges that BitFunder and its founder Jon E. Montroll operated BitFunder as an unregistered online securities exchange and defrauded exchange users

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ICO, Litigation, SEC, US

Swiss Regulator Issues Clear Guidelines for ICOs

In an effort to create clarity for market participants, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA published guidelines, on Friday, February 16, that set out how it intends to apply financial market legislation in handling inquiries from ICO organizers. The guidelines also define the information FINMA will require to deal with such inquiries and the principles upon which it will base its responses.  Focusing on anti-money laundering and securities regulation,

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AML, ICO, Switzerland

U.S. SEC Halts Trading In 3 Penny Stocks Tied To Cryptocurrency

Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 provides that, “if in [the SEC’s] opinion the public interest and the protection of investors so require, the Commission is authorized by order to (A) summarily to suspend trading in any security (other than an exempted security) for a period not exceeding 10 business days.” In Orders date February 15, the SEC relied on this rule to suspended trading in three

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Cryptocurrency, Litigation, SEC, US

US Treasury Official Pushes for Worldwide Cryptocurrency Regulation

In a speech yesterday, Sigal Mandelker, the under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence for the US Department of the Treasury, pushed for stronger regulation of cryptocurrency.  She stated that Treasury regulates virtual currency exchangers as money transmitters and requires them to abide by Bank Secrecy Act obligations.  Of specific concern is that these exchanges be mindful of the anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) obligations. 

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AML, CFTC, Cryptocurrency

ESMA, EBA and EIOPA Warn Consumers on the Risks of Virtual Currencies

Consistent with the above post, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) issued a Warning that warned consumers of the high risks of buying and/or holding cryptocurrencies.  The concern was that an increasing number of consumers buy cryptocurrencies with the expectation that the value will continue to grow, but without being aware of the high risk

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IMF Chief Says that Cryptocurrency Regulation is “Inevitable”

We have reported often on statements by various governments concerning cryptocurrency regulation.  Most recently  In an interview with CNN over the weekend, IMF Chief (and former Chairman of our law firm) Christine Lagarde said that such regulation is “inevitable.”  She noted that that there is probably quite a bit of dark activity [in cryptocurrencies] and that the IMF remains focused on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, both

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AML, Cryptocurrency

Hong Kong Regulator Warns of Cryptocurrency Risks

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued a statement today repeating an earlier alert to investors to the potential risks of dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges and investing in initial coin offerings. The SFC’s statement echoed similar concerns recently voiced by the U.S. SEC.  That is, the SFC sent letters to seven cryptocurrency exchanges in Hong Kong or with connections to Hong Kong  warning them that they should not

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Cryptocurrency, Hong Kong