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The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has published draft guidance for market players in the developing cryptoassets sector (see CP19/3).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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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

Cryptoassets: Europe Moves Towards Regulation

On 9 January 2019, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published advice on ICOs and cryptoassets to the European Commission and other EU institutions.  This development is very much part of the international trend in favour of regulating cryptoassets.  The advice identifies gaps and issues with current EU regulation (or, rather, the absence of it).  For those cryptoassets which are caught by financial regulation, ESMA describes the current regime

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Cryptoassets, EBA, ESMA, EU, UK

Danish Tax Agency Accesses Crypto Exchange Data to Tax Traders

On Jan. 14, 2019, Danish tax agency Skattestryrelsen received authorization from the nation’s tax council to collect two years of cryptocurrency trading information from three Danish crypto exchanges to ensure that its citizens have paid correct taxes. The three exchanges must now provide the tax agency with information on all purchases and sales of cryptocurrencies – including Bitcoin – made by their customers during the period from Jan. 1, 2016

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Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, Denmark, Tax

Digital Currencies and Digital Tokens are Regulated as Securities Under Malaysian Securities Laws

Pursuant to the Capital Markets and Services (Prescription of Securities) (Digital Currency and Digital Token) Order 2019 (the “Prescription Order“), which came into force on 15 January 2019, digital currencies and digital tokens which are not issued or guaranteed by any government body or central bank, and fulfils other specific features, are prescribed as securities. The implications of treating digital currencies and digital tokens as securities are significant as the

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Cryptocurrency, ICO, Malaysia