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Cryptocurrency

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The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), the state’s top financial regulator, views itself as the leading cryptocurrency state regulator in the country. Its regulatory scheme began with its introduction of the BitLicense, a set of regulations that prohibited companies from engaging in “virtual currency business activity” in New York, or with New York residents, without a license. Very few were actually applied for, and fewer still issued. Much has been written about how…

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission surprised the crypto community on May 23, 2024 when it effectively approved the sale of spot Ether Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). First, some historical context. In 2013, Gemini founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss first sought to launch a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC rejected that application and, for about 10 years, rejected all other applications to list spot Bitcoin ETPs (an Exchange Traded Fund is the most common type of…

In 2021, Illusory Systems, Inc. developed a cross-chain bridge known as the Nomad Bridge. A “bridge” is a protocol that allows multiple blockchain networks to interact with each other and for users to swap one token for another without having to trade in and out of tokens on an exchange and incur multiple trading fees. While operational, the Nomad Bridge moved more than $912 million worth of crypto assets on behalf of more than 21,000…

One of the issues that we, and much of the rest of the crypto community, have been following for many years is the battle between the crypto industry and the SEC on the issue of whether crypto assets are securities. In November 2022, a federal district judge in New Hampshire held that the LBRY token was a security. On July 13, 2023, a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York ruled that Ripple Labs’…

CoinList Markets LLC is a currency exchange. When its customers open accounts, there is a Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process which requires individual applicants to provide, among other things, their country of residence and address. CoinList maintained several sanctions compliance measures, including screening new and existing customers against Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other sanctions lists. By spring of 2021, CoinList’s onboarding protocols also included an automated process through which an application was meant to…

We previously reported on the indictment of Shakeeb Ahmed. According to the charging documents and other filings and statements made in court, the facts were as follows: In July 2022, Ahmed carried out an attack on a cryptocurrency exchange, the Crypto Exchange, by exploiting a vulnerability in one of the Crypto Exchange’s smart contracts and inserting fake pricing data to fraudulently cause that smart contract to generate approximately $9 million dollars’ worth of inflated fees…

KuCoin is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. In March of this year, the New York Attorney General (“AG”) sued KuCoin, accusing it of failing to register with the state before letting investors buy and sell cryptocurrencies on its platform. According to the AG, an investigator from the AG’s office was able to create an account with KuCoin using a computer with a New York-based IP address to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, including popular tokens…

In 2022 and 2023, following the collapse of the key global players in the crypto industry, regulators around the world closely scrutinized crypto activities and tightened the regulations for digital asset businesses. This tightening primarily concerns the protection and segregation of customers’ assets, which has become standard practice since the crypto crash. Over the past year, we have witnessed a series of enforcement actions and attempts by offshore regulators to classify various types of digital…

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) views itself as the leading cryptocurrency state regulator in the country. Its regulatory scheme began with its introduction of the BitLicense, a set of regulations that prohibited companies from engaging in “virtual currency business activity” in New York, or with New York residents, without a license. Very few were actually applied for, and fewer still issued. Much has been written about how this regulatory environment has stymied…

In a long-awaited update on its plans for the UK’s crypto regulatory framework, on 30 October 2023, HM Treasury issued three interlinked policy documents on the future regulation of crypto, covering fiat-backed stablecoins, the wider cryptoasset regulatory regime, and the failure of systemic digital settlement asset firms. The UK regulators followed shortly after, issuing a set of discussion papers and documents on 6 November 2023 on the forthcoming stablecoin regime, setting out their initial views…