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Sue McLean

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The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced a ban on the sale of crypto-derivatives and exchange traded notes (ETNs) that reference certain types of crypto-assets (crypto-ETNs) to retail consumers. Firms who carry out marketing, distribution or selling activities in or from the UK of the relevant products to retail clients, will need to comply with these rules by 6 January 2021. The FCA’s policy statement and final rules can be found here. Which assets…

In the UK, the recent case of Toma v Murray [2020] EWHC 2295 (Ch), adds to the evolving case law in respect of cryptocurrencies. At the end of last year, the Commercial Court in AA v Persons Unknown [2019] EWHC 3556 (Comm) granted an interim proprietary injunction over Bitcoin, thereby confirming Bitcoin’s status as property (see our post here). However, in this recent case, Judge Robin Vos refused the claimant’s application to continue an injunction over…

Bank of England Governor Speaks About the Future Shape of Stablecoin Regulation On 3 September 2020, Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, delivered a speech to the Brookings Institution regarding innovation in payments, setting out his view that innovations need to be underpinned by an appropriate regulatory framework to be suitable for use on a wider scale. In his view, stablecoins have the potential to be suitable for widespread use, but must…

On 27 July 2020, the Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG), which comprises UK financial services industry trade bodies, published new sectoral guidance for cryptoasset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers regarding compliance with money laundering obligations. The Guidance provides an outline of the money laundering risks posed by cryptoassets and how cryptoasset firms can mitigate such risks. Money-Laundering Risks of Cryptoassets A 2020 study by the UK’s National Crime Agency reported that UK based…

On July 20, 2020, the UK’s HM Treasury (HMT) published a consultation paper proposing to bring the promotion of certain types of cryptoasset within the scope of the UK’s financial promotions restriction. We’ve summarised key considerations below; for further reading, our Financial Institutions Hub post takes a deeper look at the consultation. Proposed Changes The financial promotions restriction, set out in section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, provides that a person must not,…

On 30 June 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) published a research report into the market size, consumer profile and attitude towards cryptoassets. This research shows that an estimated 2.6 million UK consumers have purchased cryptoassets at some point; a 1.1 million increase over 2019’s figure. The Research Since 2018, the FCA has worked with the Bank of England and the UK Government as part of a Domestic Taskforce on Cryptoassets. In its joint…

Summary On December 13 2019, in the case of AA v Persons Unknown [2019] EWHC 3556 (Comm), the UK Commercial Court granted an interim proprietary injunction over Bitcoin, thereby confirming its status as property. Background In October 2019, cyber-attackers hacked into the computer system of a Canadian insurance company and installed malware which encrypted those systems, preventing anyone but the hackers from accessing them. The hackers then offered decryption software to the insurance company in…

On 3 January, 2020, Tang Sisi, the Vice-Chair of the Smart City Development Research Centre at China’s State Information Centre (CSIC) announced that a Blockchain Service Network (BSN) will launch for commercial purposes in April 2020. What is the BSN? The BSN is a state-backed national blockchain service infrastructure platform that spans public networks, regions and institutions. It was planned by CSIC and independently developed by China UnionPay, China Mobile and others. The BSN has…

In a letter published in November 2019, Sanjay Dhotre, India’s Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) , stated that the Indian government is developing a National Level Blockchain Framework and is currently preparing an approach paper. The letter arose in response to a number of questions from MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma on what steps the government had taken to promote and encourage the use of blockchain technology and whether it had…

A UK Government-backed, industry-led initiative has published an expert legal statement recognising cryptoassets as property and smart contracts as enforceable agreements under English law. The statement is published by the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (UKJT), a taskforce of the UK’s Lawtech Delivery Panel. The report concludes that: Cryptoassets are, in principle, to be treated as property under English law. They are not disqualified from being property by their distinctive features (intangibility, cryptographic authentication, use of a…