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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 January 5, 2022, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission announced its first enforcement action of the year concerning a fraudulent initial coin offering. This is the latest in a long list of enforcement actions by the SEC targeting unregistered digital asset offerings. The SEC charged Australian citizen Craig Sproule and two companies he founded, Crowd Machine, Inc. and Metavine, Inc., with making materially false and misleading statements in connection with an unregistered offer…

As we have discussed previously, although there was hope when Gary Gensler was initially appointed Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission that this would mean the SEC would take a different, more enlightened view on the issue of approving a spot Bitcoin ETFs, over the past couple of months, that hope was dashed when Chairman Gensler noted that he looked favorably only on futures-based Bitcoin ETFs.  Consistent therewith, on October 19, 2021, Pro Shares became…

We have written extensively about the efforts that go back to when, in 2013, Gemini founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss first sought to launch a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC has rejected numerous such applications since then, and many are pending now. Over the past month or so, however, Securities and Exchange Commissioner Chairman Gary Gensler had indicated that he was more favorably inclined to allow futures-based cryptocurrency ETFs (as opposed to those that invest directly…

We recently reported about how U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Gary Gensler has made numerous comments concerning increased regulation over various aspects of the cryptocurrency industry. That same theme was part of his prepared remarks to Congress on September 14, 2021. The Chairman remarked that there was not enough investor protection in crypto finance, issuance, trading, or lending. He said: “[A]t this time, it’s more like the Wild West or the old world of…

Although the heydays of the initial coin offering are now in the rearview mirror, the US Securities and Exchange Commission continues regulatory action against those accused of conducting ICO’s in violation of the securities laws. On September 8, 2021, the SEC charged Rivetz Corp., Rivetz International SEZC, and Steven K. Sprague, the head of both companies, with conducting an illegal, unregistered offering of securities through an ICO. According to the SEC’s complaint, between July and…

When President Biden appointed Gary Gensler to chair the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, many in the crypto community reacted positively. They thought that his MIT background, among other things, might usher in days of lighter regulation. But that has not been the case. For example, as we reported in July, he talked about more regulation of stablecoins and DeFi. And, the optimism that many had that the SEC would finally approve Bitcoin ETFs under…

On August 6, 2021, the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission charged two Florida men and their Cayman Islands company with unregistered sales of more than $30 million of securities using smart contracts and decentralized finance (DeFi). The SEC said this was its first case involving securities using DeFi. According to the SEC’s order, Gregory Keough, Derek Acree, and their company Blockchain Credit Partners, offered and sold securities in unregistered offerings through DeFi Money Market (DMM)…

Early posts in this blog mentioned how former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton had famously told Congress in February 2018 that “I believe every ICO I’ve seen is a security.” His successor, Gary Gensler, resurrected those thoughts in his prepared remarks delivered on August 3, 2021 to the Aspen Security Forum: I think former SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said it well when he testified in 2018: “To the extent that digital assets like [initial coin offerings, or…

On July 21, 2021, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler spoke at an American Bae Association event. His main topic was security-based swaps. But at the end of his prepared remarks, the Chairman went out of his way to comment about the intersection of security-based swaps and financial technology, including cryptoassets. With respect to initiatives to offer crypto tokens or other products that are priced off of the value of securities and operate…