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As we previously reported, in May 2020, the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation (MDT) carried out a public consultation in relation to the draft text for a law relating to virtual assets. On September 16, 2020, the Ukrainian Parliament registered the draft law “On Virtual Assets” (the “Draft Law,” available here in Ukrainian). One significant change brought about by the public consultation is that the Draft Law now defines a virtual asset as a separate…

Two firms – cryptocurrency mining pool Simplecoin and bitcoin gaming platform Chopcoin – are shutting down as a result of the upcoming EU anti-money laundering rules.   AMLD5, the EU’s 5th anti-money laundering directive, will come into effect on January 10, 2020.  Among the changes AMLD5 brings about are an expanded scope for regulation regarding crypto platforms and wallets, centrally determined obligations for performing AML due diligence, stricter identification requirements for pre-paid card purchases, and the end…

The Council of the EU and the European Commission have published a joint statement on stablecoins. As expected this states that no global “stablecoin” arrangement should operate in the EU until “the legal, regulatory and oversight challenges and risks have been adequately identified and addressed.” While the statement recognizes that “stablecoins” may present opportunities in terms of cheap and fast payments, for example, with cross-border payments, it lists a multitude of “challenges and risks”. These…

On 9 January 2019, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published advice on ICOs and cryptoassets to the European Commission and other EU institutions.  This development is very much part of the international trend in favour of regulating cryptoassets.  The advice identifies gaps and issues with current EU regulation (or, rather, the absence of it).  For those cryptoassets which are caught by financial regulation, ESMA describes the current regime as inadequate, as it was…

In this article, Ruth Burstall and Birgit Clark of Baker McKenzie, London explore the various opportunities created by blockchain to enhance the supply chain control of pharmaceutical companies.  Blockchain cannot only help with monitoring a pharmaceutical product’s progress through various stages, from sourcing the raw materials to manufacturing and supply chain, but it can also help with meeting regulatory traceability requirements, such as those under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in the United…

It may be the moment for the IP profession to get to grips with the use of blockchain technology in its practice. Blockchain has, of course, risen to its current fame as the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but how relevant is it to IP professionals and trademark law and practice?  In their Article, Time to Get Smart?, Birgit Clark and Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy, Baker McKenzie, London, explore the idea of “smart IP rights” and…

On the 23rd and 24th November 2018, the Blockchain Leadership Summit was held in Basel, Switzerland. The participating leaders represented states (for example, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat), blockchain businesses, the finance sector, academia as well as various industries. Manuel Meyer and Yves Mauchle of Baker McKenzie Zurich held a workshop on structuring an initial coin offering. The first topic of the workshop was the regulatory categorization of the token based on its underlying economic…

Brussels, 20 November 2018: The EU Blockchain Roundtable took place with the theme of ‘bringing industries together for Europe to lead in blockchain technologies’. The Roundtable, hosted by EU leaders for digital economy and technology, met with the aim of gathering support for a comprehensive EU strategy to boost exploitation of blockchain technology across Europe.

Cryptoassets continue to be a hot topic for financial services regulators. On 19 October 2018, it was the turn of the Securities and Markets Stakeholders Group (“SMSG“), which represents various stakeholders’ interests to the European Securities Markets Authority (“ESMA“). The SMSG published a report setting out its advice to ESMA on how to contain the risks of cryptoassets and ICOs.

On Monday 3 October, the European Parliament adopted a non-legislative Resolution on distributed ledger technologies (DLT) / blockchain. In the Resolution, the Parliament makes clear that it is keen to make Europe a leading player in the blockchain field. It discusses a range of blockchain use cases including: improving data efficiency and the reporting of clinical trials in the health sector; improving supply chain processes, such as facilitating the forwarding and monitoring of origin of…