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Cryptocurrency

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Washington based think tank Coin Center has brought a lawsuit against, among others, the United Sates Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service regarding a reporting requirement included in last year’s major infrastructure legislation. We wrote at that time about the criticism of the bill with respect to the reporting burdens that were going to be placed on “brokers” of “digital asset” transfers. The Coin Center lawsuit focuses on the so-called Section 6050I reporting requirement, which…

Last month we wrote about the U.S. Department of Commerce entering the cryptocurrency fray by publishing in the Federal Register a Request for Comments (RFC) under the title “Developing a Framework on Competitiveness of Digital Asset Technologies.” The impetus for the publication was President Biden’s March 9, 2022 Executive Order — “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets” — which the White House described as the first ever, whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing…

We have written often about the efforts of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (here and here) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (here and here) to regulate in the cryptocurrency space. On May 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce entered the fray by publishing in the Federal Register a Request for Comments (RFC) under the title “Developing a Framework on Competitiveness of Digital Asset Technologies.” The impetus for the publication was President Biden’s…

On May 16, 2022, the Australian Tax Office issued a publication that identified four key focus areas for the 2021-22 tax year. These four are areas where the ATO says they see people making mistakes. One of the areas is capital gains from crypto assets. The ATO plans to ensure that there is an appropriate level of scrutiny on correct reporting of deductions and income for the priority areas. The ATO warned that taxpayers who…

On April 25, 2022, European Central Bank Executive Board member Fabio Panetta delivered a speech at Columbia University in New York in which he was very critical of cryptoassets. As indicated in the title of the speech — “For a Few Cryptos More: the Wild West of Crypto Finance” — Mr. Panetta compared cryptocurrencies to the Wild West gold rush in the United States in the second half of the 19th century (while also working…

In late March 2022, in the opening hours of Blockchain Week, Minister Jane Hum announced that the Australian Government had released a consultation paper which proposed a new regulatory and licensing regime for ‘crypto asset secondary service providers’ (CASSPrs). This followed a call by Senator Andrew Bragg earlier that day for crypto reforms to be consolidated into a comprehensive legislative package (including a ‘Digital Services Act’). A write-up concerning these proposals may be found here.

In a Statement published on March 23, 2022 (as translated using Google Translate), the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission announced that, starting April 1, 2022, digital assets (e.g., Bitcoin) will be banned as a method of payment. Business operators who find that customers are using digital assets to pay for goods or services must notify the user and take action against them, such as suspending or terminating their accounts. The Statement provided a number of…

In November 2021, Floki Inu, a cryptocurrency, ran an ad across the London Underground. The ad had an image of a cartoon dog wearing a Viking helmet. The text stated “MISSED DOGE. GET FLOKI”. Smaller text at the bottom of the ad said, “Your investment may go down as well as up in value. Crypto currency is not regulated in the UK.” The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) challenged the ad. Floki Inu explained that…

On February 8, 2022, the U.S. government arrested Ilya Liechtenstein and Heather Morgan and charged them with conspiracy to launder the proceeds of 119,754 Bitcoin which had been stolen from cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex in a 2016 hack. The present value of the theft is approximately $4.5 billion and the U.S. government has seized approximately 94,000 Bitcoin thus far. The seized Bitcoin is valued at $3.6 billion and represents the DOJ’s largest ever cryptocurrency seizure. The…

On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) “to tackle complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency, particularly crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.” Crypto mixing and tumbling services help users reduce traceability by obscuring the sources of their funds. As part of this announcement, the DOJ asserted that cryptocurrency is the “primary…