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CFTC

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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 July 13, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged California-based Abra (a crypto investment app maker) and a related firm in the Philippines for offering and selling security-based swaps to retail investors without registration and for failing to transact those swaps on a registered national exchange. In a parallel action, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission issued an order filing and settling charges against both companies for entering into illegal off-exchange swaps in…

The CFTC has issued new guidance on “actual delivery” of virtual currencies.  The CFTC has long held that commodities must be physically delivered within 28 days of the contract of sale to fall outside of the regulation of contracts under the Commodities Exchange Act.  In this new guidance, the CFTC concludes that possession and control of the digital asset must transfer to the buyer within 28 days to satisfy the requirements of actual delivery.  In…

On May 7, 2020, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission brought suit in federal court in Florida against Daniel Fingerhut of Miami, Florida, and three companies that he worked with, Digital Platinum, Inc. (DPI), a Florida corporation, Digital Platinum, Ltd. (DPL), an Israeli company, and Huf Mediya Ltd. (Huf) a Bulgarian company, as well as the control persons of all three entities, Tal Valariola and Itay Barak. According to the Complaint, beginning in at least October 2013 and continuing through August 2018,…

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced on April 20 that it had issued an Order of Designation to Bitnomial Exchange, LLC located in Chicago, Ill., granting it status as a designated contract market (DCM). As a result, Bitnomial joins a small number of other companies able to offer Bitcoin futures and option contracts. According to Bitnomial’s press release, “The approval allows Bitnomial to tackle a confluence of generational shifts in financial markets: First, a…

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a complaint, on April 16, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, charging defendants Alan Friedland of Florida and his Florida-based companies, Fintech Investment Group, Inc. (Fintech) and Compcoin LLC, with fraudulently soliciting more than $1.6 million from their customers in connection with a leveraged or margined off-exchange foreign currency (forex) scheme. According to the complaint, starting in at least 2016 and proceeding through 2018, Friedland and his companies fraudulently…

Last December, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued  a public call for feedback to “better inform the Commission’s understanding” of the Ethereum network and the cryptocurrency ether.  The CFTC said input would better inform the agency in the event that market participants submit proposals to list new cryptocurrency-based futures or derivatives products. The CFTC has already recognized the trading of Bitcoin-based derivatives. Speaking at the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit on Thursday October 10, and as reported by…

On March 11, 2019, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it had entered into a Consent Order resolving a CFTC action against 1pool Ltd., located in the Marshall Islands, and its chief executive officer and owner, Patrick Brunner, for illegally offering retail commodity transactions that were margined in bitcoin, failing to register as a futures commission merchant (FCM), and failing to meet its supervisory duties by not having the required anti-money laundering…

House bills with bipartisan support would direct regulators to examine new ways to oversee digital assets and protect them from manipulation, as some lawmakers strive to make financial technologies more mainstream.  One bill, the “U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2019” (H.R. 923), would direct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), consulting with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other agencies, to report to committees including Senate Banking and House Financial Services…

LabCFTC, the FinTech engagement arm of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), this week released a primer on smart contracts that provides examples of contract logic, describes a decentralized blockchain, and details applications.  The primer also highlights potential operational and regulatory challenges and risks. The primer acknowledges that a smart contract potentially can be a binding legal contract subject to a variety of legal frameworks. Among them are the CFTC, federal and state securities, tax,…