This post concerns a lawsuit brought by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The complaint alleges that, from approximately June 1, 2019 to approximately August 23, 2021, bZeroX, LLC (bZeroX) designed, deployed, marketed, and made solicitations concerning a blockchain-based software protocol that accepted orders for and facilitated margined and leveraged retail commodity transactions (functioning similarly to a trading platform). This protocol (the bZx Protocol) permitted users to contribute margin (collateral) to open leveraged positions…

For those who have followed for some time the law that has developed around blockchain, there is a strong likelihood they associate the term DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) with the well-publicized hack that took place in 2016 with respect to one of the relatively early ICOs (initial coin offering) of an organization called UG. The objective of that DAO — referred to as The DAO — was to operate a for-profit entity that would…

The blockchain phenomenon has brought an ever increasing use of smart contracts.  Those contracts raise numerous issue for disputes lawyers.  Some are variations of old themes.  But others are unique to developing technologies.  Our ” What To Expect When Litigating Smart Contract Disputes” article looks at both sets of issues.

One of the big questions surrounding ICOs is whether the “coin” (or token) offered in the ICO is considered a security and, therefore, subject to securities laws, including registration.  One of the U.S. SEC’s first official statements on the matter, issued in response to the DAO debacle, was probably most famous for its lack of definitive statements.  It said that:

[F]ederal securities law may apply to various activities, including distributed ledger technology, depending on the particular facts and circumstances, without regard to the form of the organization or technology used to effectuate a particular offer or sale