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Bitcoin

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As we have discussed previously, although there was hope when Gary Gensler was initially appointed Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission that this would mean the SEC would take a different, more enlightened view on the issue of approving a spot Bitcoin ETFs, over the past couple of months, that hope was dashed when Chairman Gensler noted that he looked favorably only on futures-based Bitcoin ETFs. Consistent therewith, on October 19, 2021, Pro Shares became…

We have written extensively about the efforts that go back to when, in 2013, Gemini founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss first sought to launch a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC has rejected numerous such applications since then, and many are pending now. Over the past month or so, however, Securities and Exchange Commissioner Chairman Gary Gensler had indicated that he was more favorably inclined to allow futures-based cryptocurrency ETFs (as opposed to those that invest directly…

On June 24, 201, the United States Department of Justice brought a criminal bill of information against Michael Yusko III. According to the DOJ, under U.S. federal law, any business that engages in “the acceptance of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency from one person and the transmission of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency to another location or person by any means” is deemed to be a money…

The Bank of International Settlements is owned by 63 central banks and serves as bank for central banks. One June 23, 2021, the BIS released one chapter of its full annual report, which will be released on June 29. From the title of the chapter, “CBDCs: An Opportunity for the Monetary System,” it is apparent that the BIS is very much in favor of CBDCs (central bank digital currencies) — not very surprising considering the…

As the Wall Street Journal reported, on June 21, 2021: “The People’s Bank of China …said it summoned representatives of multiple institutions—including state-owned commercial banks and Ant Group Co.’s Alipay—and told them to “strictly implement” recent notices and guidelines from authorities on curbing risks tied to bitcoin and cryptocurrency fundraising activities. It was the latest sign that Beijing is intensifying its crackdown on unregulated virtual currencies.” The PBOC Statement talked about how cryptocurrencies are used…

Early in the morning of June 9, 2021, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador, 39, tweeted that the Salvadoran Congress had approved his proposed law that would make Bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador. The vote was 62 out of 84. El Salvador thus becomes the first country to approve the use of Bitcoin as legal tender. The country currently uses the U.S. Dollar as its currency. Bitcoin will become legal tender in 90 days,…

On 31 March 2021, the UK tax authorities (HMRC) consolidated their existing guidance on crypto-asset taxation for businesses and individuals and published new guidance on the taxation of “staking” activities. This is contained in a new manual (guidance for HMRC officers which is publicly available online but which does not have the force of law). The new guidance on staking activities is almost identical to the existing guidance on mining, but the fact that HMRC…

In 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was asked for the first time to approve a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund.  That request was denied.  More than a dozen other applications followed, each resulting in denial.  With at least six applications pending, and a number of changed circumstances, it is hoped that the SEC is finally ready to approve Bitcoin ETFs.  For a more detailed discussion of the state of play of Bitcoin ETFs, you can…

In Ion Science Ltd. v Persons Unknown and others (unreported), the Commercial Court granted a proprietary injunction and a worldwide freezing order in respect of Bitcoin that had been dissipated by the wrongdoers due to cyber-fraud. The Commercial Court also granted permission to serve disclosure orders against the coin exchanges that processed the transactions in order to help locate the missing assets and wrongdoers. This judgment further solidifies Bitcoin’s status as property, but also shows…

We previously reported that, in July 2019, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service announced that it had begun sending the now infamous letters to taxpayers who, supposedly, may have failed to properly report income and pay taxes associated with cryptocurrency transactions. About 10,000 of these Letter 6173 were sent. And we previously reported that James Harper had sued the IRS claiming the IRS violated his rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution…