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Cryptocurrency

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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…

On October 5, 2023, the Canadian Securities Administrators published guidance on dealing in Stablecoins, including by imposing updated terms and conditions for crypto asset trading platforms that offer Stablecoins, and requiring issuers of certain Stablecoins to provide undertakings in a form substantially acceptable to the regulators by December 1, 2023. For a complete discussion, click here.

On October 13, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved the Digital Financial Assets Law. Among its provisions, the law prohibits a person from engaging in digital financial asset business activity with or on behalf of a California resident unless, among other things, the person is licensed with California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. “Digital financial asset” is defined as a digital representation of value that is used as a medium of exchange, unit of…

We have been writing for years about what had become an almost quixotic quest for U.S. SEC approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF (see one such post here). The D.C. Circuit’s decision in the Grayscale case (see post here) was a clear repudiation of the SEC’s position and infused the industry with hope that such approval might finally be forthcoming. Though it has not happened yet, this post provides an update on this topic. There…

On September 18, 2023 the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued an update on an ongoing initiative to strengthen DFS oversight of virtual currencies. A central aspect of the proposed guidance are enhanced criteria for coin-listing and delisting procedures. DFS wants to establish itself (or, as DFS sees it, maintain is role) as the leading cryptocurrency regulator in the country. Towards that end, the DFS press release states: “The Department has added more…

On August 25, 2023, the United States Treasury Department issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding tax reporting by brokers of transactions involving the sale or exchange of digital assets (“Proposed Regulations”). These long-awaited Proposed Regulations are in response to section 80603 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which expanded the scope of information reporting obligations for brokers under Code section 6045 to cover transfers of digital assets. Baker McKenzie has prepared an…

We have previously reported (here and here) on the refund lawsuit that a couple, the Jarretts, brought against the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Mr. Jarrett produced Tezos tokens, a form of cryptocurrency, through a process known as “staking” — a system being used by more and more blockchains. As Jarrett saw things, staking uses existing Tezos tokens and computing power to produce new tokens. Thus, he argued, he would owe taxes on the tokens only…

In Revenue Ruling 2023-14, issued July 31, 2023, the IRS ruled that a cash-method taxpayer that receives additional units of cryptocurrency as rewards for validating transactions on a proof-of-stake blockchain must recognize the fair market value of the validation rewards as income in the taxable year in which the taxpayer gains dominion and control over the validation rewards. This is broadly consistent with the IRS views previously expressed on the treatment of mining income. In…

On July 13, 2023, Judge Analisa Torres of the United States District Court or the Southern District of New York issued an Order on competing motions for summary judgment in the closely followed SEC v. Ripple Labs, Inc. litigation. As the first court decision to broadly address the question of whether a cryptocurrency itself is a security, as the SEC has maintained it is in most circumstances, the Order may have broad implications to the state of…