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David Zaslowsky

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On August 1, 2022 the US Securities and Exchange Commission brought a lawsuit alleging that Forsage was a fraudulent crypto scheme. According to the Complaint, Defendants Vladimir “Lado” Okhotnikov, Jane Doe a/k/a Lola Ferrari, Mikail “Mike” Sergeev, and Sergey Maslakov (the founders of Forsage) created, operated and maintained an online pyramid and Ponzi scheme through Forsage.io (“Forsage”), a website that allowed millions of retail investors in the United States and elsewhere to enter into transactions…

We wrote last week about the SEC’s recent insider trading lawsuit in which it identified nine tokens as “securities.” We made the following observation: “The potential implications of the SEC’s identifying these nine assets as securities are obvious. Securities exchanges must be registered with the SEC. There are undoubtedly numerous cryptocurrency platforms that sell the nine tokens and which are not so registered. Will the SEC next train its sights on those platforms?” It looks…

The SEC has brought numerous cases in which it alleged that specific tokens were “securities” and that their offerings violated the securities laws. Those cases were typically brought against the issuers. However, the SEC upped the ante in a lawsuit it brought on July 21, 2022 in which the SEC declared that nine cryptocurrencies were “securities,” but in a case not brought against the issuers. The lawsuit is the SEC’s first insider trading case dealing…

We have followed for years the saga of the many applications for a spot Bitcoin ETF that have been denied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). See here and here. This included the hope, when current SEC Chairman Gary Gensler was originally appointed, that the SEC might view things differently, but it was not meant to be, as the string of denials continued. There was one bright spot, in October 2021, when the…

Washington based think tank Coin Center has brought a lawsuit against, among others, the United Sates Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service regarding a reporting requirement included in last year’s major infrastructure legislation. We wrote at that time about the criticism of the bill with respect to the reporting burdens that were going to be placed on “brokers” of “digital asset” transfers. The Coin Center lawsuit focuses on the so-called Section 6050I reporting requirement, which…

Last month we wrote about the U.S. Department of Commerce entering the cryptocurrency fray by publishing in the Federal Register a Request for Comments (RFC) under the title “Developing a Framework on Competitiveness of Digital Asset Technologies.” The impetus for the publication was President Biden’s March 9, 2022 Executive Order — “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets” — which the White House described as the first ever, whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing…

We have written often about the efforts of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (here and here) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (here and here) to regulate in the cryptocurrency space. On May 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce entered the fray by publishing in the Federal Register a Request for Comments (RFC) under the title “Developing a Framework on Competitiveness of Digital Asset Technologies.” The impetus for the publication was President Biden’s…

On May 16, 2022, the Australian Tax Office issued a publication that identified four key focus areas for the 2021-22 tax year. These four are areas where the ATO says they see people making mistakes. One of the areas is capital gains from crypto assets. The ATO plans to ensure that there is an appropriate level of scrutiny on correct reporting of deductions and income for the priority areas. The ATO warned that taxpayers who…

BitMEX is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms. Last year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a Consent Order that the U.S. Commodities Futures and Trading Commission agreed to with five companies charged with operating BitMEX. The order required the BitMEX entities to pay a $100 million civil monetary penalty. (read more here). Earlier this year, the three co-founders of the company plead guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act…

For those who have followed for some time the law that has developed around blockchain, there is a strong likelihood they associate the term DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) with the well-publicized hack that took place in 2016 with respect to one of the relatively early ICOs (initial coin offering) of an organization called Slock.it UG. The objective of that DAO — referred to as The DAO — was to operate a for-profit entity that would…