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David Zaslowsky

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Eight times since 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has repeatedly refused to approve applications for a cryptocurrency-linked exchange traded fund (ETF). See here and here. Time and again, the SEC said that the applicants were unable to persuade the Commission that the Bitcoin market was sufficiently resistant to market manipulation. Another common theme was the dissent of Hester Pierce (affectionately known as “Crypto Mom), who said in January 2020, for example: This order…

In a February 5, 2021 letter, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) warned all banks in the country that that they are prohibited from dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges. Thus, all banks and other financial institutions were directed to identify persons transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges and make sure that such accounts were closed. The letter included a warning that breaches of the directive would “attract severe regulatory sanctions.” After…

On January 29, 2021, Hugo Sergio Mejia, 49, of California, was charged in a two-count information with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and money laundering. In a plea agreement, Mejia agreed to plead guilty to these felony offenses. According to his plea agreement, from May 2018 to September 2020, Mejia operated a virtual currency business that exchanged Bitcoin for cash, and vice versa, charging commissions for these transactions. Mejia admitted he never registered his…

Previous posts have talked about India’s interesting relationship with cryptocurrency. In 2018, India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), had banned domestic financial institutions from providing banking services to cryptocurrency exchanges in India. In March 2020, the India Supreme Court struck down the RBI ban as unconstitutional. The report last month that the Indian government was weighing a proposal to impose an 18% goods and services tax on Bitcoin transactions was looked on…

On January 26, 2021, federal prosecutors in New York unsealed a criminal complaint against 24-year old Jeremy Spence (aka “Coin Signals”). As alleged, Spence took cryptocurrency worth over $5 million from more than 170 individual investors after making false representations in connection with these cryptocurrency funds. The allegations in the complaint allege the following scheme: From November 2017 through April 2019, Spence solicited investors in various cryptocurrency investment pools that Spence had created and managed. …

Russia is continuing its unpredictable relationship with cryptocurrency.  At one time, there was talk of the country banning cryptocurrency, though that never happened.  Russia eventually legalized it, but did not allow cryptocurrency to be used to make payments.  In December 2020, Reuters reported that President Vladimir Putin signed an order requiring that Russian public officials would have to declare cryptocurrency holdings starting January 1, 2021. Now, Coindesk and Coin Telegraph are reporting that, under a…

We have previously reported about how India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), had banned domestic financial institutions from providing banking services to cryptocurrency exchanges in India, and how, in a decision on March 4, 2020, the India Supreme Court struck down the RBI ban as unconstitutional. Now, the Times of India is reporting that the Indian government is weighing a proposal to impose an 18% goods and services tax on Bitcoin transactions. …

On December 29, 2020, New York State’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) granted a charter under New York Banking Law to GMO-Z.com Trust Company Inc., to operate as a limited liability trust company. With DFS approval, GMO is authorized to issue, administer, and redeem Japanese Yen and U.S. Dollar-pegged stablecoins in New York. The Japanese Yen stablecoin will be the first of its kind available to the public. New York, a leading global financial center, has had an interesting history with cryptocurrency. We…

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced on December 28, 2020 that it had filed an emergency action and obtained an order imposing an asset freeze and other emergency relief against Virgil Capital LLC and its affiliated companies in connection with an alleged securities fraud relating to Virgil Capital’s flagship cryptocurrency trading fund, Virgil Sigma Fund LP. The Commission’s action alleges that the fraud was directed by Virgil co-founder, 23-year-old Stefan Qin, an Australian citizen…

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission continued to the very end of 2020 to pursue companies that engaged in ICOs without proper registration. One December 23, 2020, the SEC settled charges against Texas-based blockchain startup company Tierion, Inc. for conducting an unregistered offering of securities in the form of a “token sale.” According to the SEC’s order, Tierion raised approximately $25 million through the sale of “Tierion Network Tokens” (TNT) in July of 2017. The…