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David Zaslowsky

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On November 19, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued a no-action letter to IMVU, Inc in connection with the sale of its VCOIN token. IMVU describes itself as the world’s largest avatar-based social platform with a global network of over seven million monthly active users. These users create 3D avatars to meet new friends, interact, and play games in virtual environments online and through IMVU’s app. IMVU’s No-Action Letter Request to the SEC argued that…

A mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) is an agreement between countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public or criminal laws. It is often used to target crimes such as money laundering and drug trafficking. On November 4, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that, under an MLAT request from Brazil, it had seized virtual currency worth an estimated $24 million. According to documents filed in the…

Earlier this week, crypto-currency watchers noticed that there had been movement of about 70,000 Bitcoin from an account that had been dormant for many years. That mystery has now been solved. The U.S. Department of Justice announced on November 5, 2020 that it had seized the account. At the time of the seizure, the Bitcoin were worth more than $1 billion. According to the allegations of the civil forfeiture complaint, from 2011 until October 2013…

Under U.S. tax law, cryptocurrencies are treated like property. As a result, each time someone buys, sells or exchanges a digital asset, it is considered a taxable event and the capital gains tax applies. The Internal Revenue Service is of the view that many reportable transactions go unreported. One method it is adopting to try capture such taxes is that, starting in 2020, the very first question on the standard 1040 Form is whether “at…

On October 21, 2020, the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued an Advisory to futures commission merchants (FCMs) regarding the holding of virtual currency in segregated accounts. The advisory provides guidance to FCMs on how to hold and report certain deposited virtual currency from customers in connection with physically-delivered futures contracts or swaps. The Advisory also provides guidance that FCMs should follow when designing…

Central bank digital currencies (“CBDC”) has been one of the hottest topics of 2020. We reported recently that the Bahamas planned to roll out its e-currency in October. China has probably been the most aggressive in developing plans for a future launch of a CBDC, the digital yuan. On October 9, 2020, the BIS and seven central banks released a report concerning the issuance of CBDCs. The report, Central bank digital currencies: foundational principles and core features, was…

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Thus, on October 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence issued a pair of advisories to assist U.S. individuals and businesses in efforts to combat ransomware scams and attacks, which continue to increase in size and scope. As Treasury explained, anti-money laundering and sanctions regulations implemented and enforced by Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence may have implications for persons involved in…

On September 28, 2020, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed a civil enforcement action against Laino Group Limited (which did business under the name PaxForex) a company registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The CFTC’s complaint charges the defendant with engaging in unlawful retail commodity transactions and failing to register as a futures commission merchant (FCM). According to the complaint, from at least March 2018, PaxForex offered or engaged in unlawful retail commodity transactions in litecoin,…

On September 21, 2020, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the regulatory agency charged with overseeing banks, published an interpretive letter clarifying national banks’ and federal savings associations’ authority to hold “reserves” on behalf of customers who issue certain stablecoins. Generally, a stablecoin is a type of cryptocurrency designed to have a stable value as compared with other types of cryptocurrency, which frequently experience significant volatility. One type of stablecoin is…

On September 15, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against Unikrn Inc., an operator of an online eSports gaming and gambling platform for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO) of digital asset securities. Unikrn agreed to settle the charges by paying a $6.1 million penalty, substantially all of the company’s assets, to be distributed to investors through a Fair Fund. According to the SEC’s order, between June and October 2017, Unikrn raised approximately…