SEC Stops Fraudulent ICO That Falsely Claimed SEC Approval

The U.S. SEC announced yesterday that it had stopped what sounds like the most brazen fake ICO yet.  According to the complaint, Blockvest LLC not only falsely claimed that it had obtained SEC approval, it also used the SEC seal without permission (a violation of federal law) and promoted the ICO with a fake agency called the “Blockchain Exchange Commission” (using a graphic similar to the SEC’s seal and the

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ICO, ICO Litigation, SEC, US

Swiss Blockchain-based Businesses Must Consider AML and Licensing Requirements

During 2017, the issue that probably got the most attention for companies raising capital through initial coin offerings (ICOs) was whether tokens constitute securities.  However, governmental agencies and regulators, particularly the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (“FINMA”), focused on other legal issues as well. It was reiterated that companies issuing cryptocurrencies or tokens have to consider not only securities registration but also anti-money laundering and licensing compliance. It has also

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AML, Banking, FINMA, ICO, Switzerland

UK’s HM Land Registry to Explore the Benefits of Blockchain

Enhanced efficiency, collaboration, transparency and trust are some of the key claims of blockchain technology that are appealing to many industries, including the real estate sector. Land registries around the world (including in Sweden and the Republic of Georgia) are exploring the use of blockchain and smart contracts to enable real estate contracts and property records to be completed and monies distributed in an effective and timely manner. On Monday

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Real Estate, Smart Contracts, UK

A Complete Guide to Regulations on Cryptocurrencies and ICOs in Thailand

This blog has previously discussed how different countries have taken varying positions with respect to their friendliness toward cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Baker McKenzie’s office in Thailand has prepared a guide that contains an overview of the regulatory landscape on digital assets in Thailand.

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Cryptocurrency, ICO, Thailand

Japan’s Financial Services Agency and Dubai’s Financial Services Authority Enter into FinTech Cooperation Agreement

On September 26, 2018, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (JFSA) and Dubai’s Financial Services Authority (DFSA) entered into a FinTech cooperation agreement, recognizing the global nature of innovation in financial services and agreeing to share information about FinTech developments.  This framework also establishes a regulatory referral system for FinTech companies from Japan and Dubai wishing to enter the other’s market, with a view to reducing barriers to entry and encouraging innovation

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Dubai, Japan

UK Law Commission Launches Consultation on the Electronic Execution of Documents

Last month, the UK Law Commission (the “Commission“) launched a consultation paper as part of its latest project to address any uncertainty as to the formalities around the electronic execution of documents. Specifically, the consultation seeks views on the electronic execution of documents where legislation prescribes that a document must be signed or executed as a deed. In England and Wales there is a fair amount of flexibility when it

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Smart Contracts, UK

SEC and CFTC Charge Bitcoin-Funded Securities Dealer and CEO

On September 27, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against an international securities dealer and its Austria-based CEO for allegedly violating the federal securities laws in connection with security-based swaps funded with Bitcoins. According to the SEC’s Complaint, 1pool Ltd. a/k/a 1Broker, registered in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and its CEO Patrick Brunner, solicited investors from the United States and around the world to buy

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Swiss Bankers Association Publishes Guidelines Intended to Maintain Switzerland’s Blockchain Friendly Status

Switzerland often ranks among the most friendly and accommodating countries for blockchain-based companies to conduct their initial coin or token offering (“ICO”). Indeed, recent estimates are that more than 530 blockchain companies established in the Swiss cantons of Zurich and Zug have raised more than US$540 million through ICOs. Despite these facts, these companies often face significant difficulties in opening a bank account in Switzerland to hold the fiat currency

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AML, Banking, ICO, Switzerland

CSIRO’s Red Belly Blockchain Claims New Speed Record

It is well known that, among the biggest problems with public blockchains, such as the one behind Bitcoin, are the amount of time it takes to process a transaction and the enormous amount of energy it consumes.  According to, for example, Bitcoin processes only three to seven transactions per second and, in August, had an average confirmation time for a transaction of 10-30 minutes, though that number had been

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Australia, Cryptocurrency, CSIRO

UK Crypto Task Force Calls For Regulation

In February 2018, the UK Treasury Committee launched an inquiry into digital currencies.  In the course of its inquiry the Committee received oral and written evidence from a number of key players in the crypto space, including representatives from Ripple, CryptoUK and Blockchain, together with evidence from the FCA (the UK financial services regulator), the Bank of England and HM Treasury. Earlier than expected, the Treasury Committee published its crypto-assets

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AML, Cryptocurrency, FCA, ICO, UK