HMRC Publishes Guidance on the Taxation of Cryptoassets for Individuals

This week HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”), the UK’s tax authority, set out its view on how individuals should be taxed when handling cryptoassets which can be used as a method of payment, such as Bitcoin. There are no significant surprises in HMRC’s guidance, which relies on existing principles to determine whether income tax or capital gains tax applies. However, when dealing with cryptoassets, individuals should be aware that they

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Bitcoin, Cryptoassets, Cryptocurrency, Tax, UK

A Series Of 1st-Time Crypto Actions For The SEC

On December 17 we published an article in Law360 describing the SEC’s busy November in which it secured three “firsts” in its crackdown on unlawful digital activity: (1) its first enforcement action against an entity for operating as an unregulated national securities exchange; (2) its first cases imposing civil penalties solely for ICO securities offering registration violations; and (3) its first cases charging touting violations involving ICOs.  By highlighting its

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Enforcement, ICO, SEC, US

Australia Uses Blockchain to Provide Better Counterfeit Protections for Australian Businesses and Consumers

A new initiative from the Australian Government, the Smart Trade Mark, provides Australian businesses with a  new technology to help protect their products from counterfeiting risks and imitation products in overseas markets. IP Australia (an agency of Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science which administers intellectual property rights) developed the Smart Trade Mark using blockchain and the Australian Trade Mark Register.  IP Australia, alongside start-up Agile Digital, successfully piloted

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Australia, Intellectual Property, Trademark

US District Court Judge Holds Plaintiffs Made Sufficient Showing That Token Is Security to Survive a Motion to Dismiss

Recent posts have discussed proceedings brought by the SEC in connection with ICOs that violated the securities laws.  But private plaintiffs can also bring suits alleging violations of securities laws based on a company’s failure to register a token as a security.  That is the claim being made in Solis v. Latium Network, Inc.  On December 10, 2018, the judge in that case decided that the allegations in the complaint

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ICO, ICO Litigation, Litigation, US

Switzerland introduces the “Innovator License” for Fintechs

On November 30, 2018, the Federal Council (the highest executive authority of Switzerland) published the implementing rules governing the newly introduced Swiss “innovator license.”  The Swiss Parliament has recently enacted this new license category. Younger companies, in particular from the fintech and blockchain space, often engage in taking deposits from the public. Until recently, this activity was reserved for banks. However, fintechs that operate payment systems, including such systems based

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Banking, FinTech, Innovator License, Switzerland

Flat Risk Weight of 800% – FINMA Clarifies Prudential Consequences of Cryptoassets Trading by Swiss Banks and Securities Dealers

Up to now, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has taken no official position on how to consider cryptoassets for the Basel III capital requirements or liquidity ratios for banks and securities dealers. According to current media reports, however, FINMA is said to have revealed its practice on the issue in a confidential letter sent to EXPERTsuisse, an association representing Swiss trustees and accountants, on October 15, 2018. The

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Banking, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, FINMA, Switzerland

EU Blockchain Roundtable meets to discuss future of technology and formation of international association

Brussels, 20 November 2018: The EU Blockchain Roundtable took place with the theme of ‘bringing industries together for Europe to lead in blockchain technologies’. The Roundtable, hosted by EU leaders for digital economy and technology, met with the aim of gathering support for a comprehensive EU strategy to boost exploitation of blockchain technology across Europe.

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EU, International

Launch of First Multi-Crypto ETP at SIX Swiss Exchange

On 22 November 2018, there was a first at SIX Swiss Exchange: Swiss-based startup Amun AG obtained the first license worldwide to offer an Exchange Traded Product (ETP) based on multiple crypto-currencies on a regulated stock exchange. The ETP gives investors access to a diversified, weighted and automatically re-balanced basket of the top four most liquid crypto-assets: Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum and Litecoin. Each cryptocurrency was allocated a certain share within

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Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Exchanges, Switzerland

SEC’S First Cases for Improperly Touting ICOs are Brought Against Celebrities DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather

The U.S. SEC has shown it seriousness in cracking down on noncompliant ICOs by pursuing enforcement in a number of different ways.  We have reported on the SEC’s recent first-time enforcement action against an entity for operating as an unregulated national securities exchange and its recent first cases imposing civil penalties solely for ICO securities offering registration violations.  Yesterday marked another new first.  The cases brought against celebrities  DJ Khaled and

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ICO, SEC, Touting, US

LabCFTC Releases Primer on Smart Contracts

LabCFTC, the FinTech engagement arm of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), this week released a primer on smart contracts that provides examples of contract logic, describes a decentralized blockchain, and details applications.  The primer also highlights potential operational and regulatory challenges and risks. The primer acknowledges that a smart contract potentially can be a binding legal contract subject to a variety of legal frameworks. Among them are the CFTC,

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CFTC, Cryptocurrency, Enforcement, US