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SEC

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Early posts in this blog mentioned how former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton famously told Congress in February 2018 that “I believe every ICO I’ve seen is a security.” His successor, current SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, has said on multiple occasions (for example, here) that he believes the vast majority of digital tokens are securities. In a decision issued on November 7, 2022, U.S. District Judge Paul J. Barbadoro held that…

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced on October 3, 2022 that it brought charges against Kim Kardashian for touting on social media a crypto asset security offered and sold by EthereumMax without disclosing the payment she received for the promotion. The following are based on the SEC Order, On June 13, 2021, Kardashian promoted EthereumMax with a post on her Instagram account. She received approximately $250,000 for the post. At the time of her…

On September 15, 2020 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) issued an order denying the SEC’s Division of Enforcement’s (the “Division”) motion to expedite enforcement proceedings against American CryptoFed DAO LLC (“CryptoFed”) an issuer of digital assets. CyrptoFed DAO had previously filed a Form 10 registration statement with the SEC seeking to register two classes of digital assets, the Ducat and Locke tokens, as equity securities under Section 12(g) of the Securities…

On September 16, 2022 the White House released its Comprehensive Framework for Responsible Development of Digital Assets (Framework) for how the administration plans to address digital assets as a part of its “whole-of-government approach”, which was first outlined in a March 9 Executive Order (EO) issued by President Joe Biden. In the short-term, the Framework does little to alter the regulatory uncertainty that has allowed many bad actors in the digital asset space to thrive while stymieing responsible growth. There are…

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has talked recently about an ever-increasing scope of its jurisdiction — such as with respect to NFTs — and recently brought its first insider trading case dealing with cryptocurrencies. But on August 16, 2022, the SEC brought a type of case that is similar to many others over that past five years. It sued Dragonchain Foundation, Dragonchain Inc., the Dragon Company as well as founder and chief developer Joseph Roets in…

On August 1, 2022 the US Securities and Exchange Commission brought a lawsuit alleging that Forsage was a fraudulent crypto scheme. According to the Complaint, Defendants Vladimir “Lado” Okhotnikov, Jane Doe a/k/a Lola Ferrari, Mikail “Mike” Sergeev, and Sergey Maslakov (the founders of Forsage) created, operated and maintained an online pyramid and Ponzi scheme through Forsage.io (“Forsage”), a website that allowed millions of retail investors in the United States and elsewhere to enter into transactions…

We wrote last week about the SEC’s recent insider trading lawsuit in which it identified nine tokens as “securities.” We made the following observation: “The potential implications of the SEC’s identifying these nine assets as securities are obvious. Securities exchanges must be registered with the SEC. There are undoubtedly numerous cryptocurrency platforms that sell the nine tokens and which are not so registered. Will the SEC next train its sights on those platforms?” It looks…

The SEC has brought numerous cases in which it alleged that specific tokens were “securities” and that their offerings violated the securities laws. Those cases were typically brought against the issuers. However, the SEC upped the ante in a lawsuit it brought on July 21, 2022 in which the SEC declared that nine cryptocurrencies were “securities,” but in a case not brought against the issuers. The lawsuit is the SEC’s first insider trading case dealing…

We have followed for years the saga of the many applications for a spot Bitcoin ETF that have been denied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). See here and here. This included the hope, when current SEC Chairman Gary Gensler was originally appointed, that the SEC might view things differently, but it was not meant to be, as the string of denials continued. There was one bright spot, in October 2021, when the…

On June 7, 2022, Senators Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill to regulate digital assets and promote financial innovation. The proposed legislation is the first significant, bipartisan effort to apply comprehensive regulation to digital assets. The proposed legislation begins with the premise that digital assets are commodities and their regulation appropriately rests with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Under the regime as contemplated, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would be…