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SEC

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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…

On July 14, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had settled charges against United Kingdom-based Blotics Ltd., the operator of Coinschedule.com, a once-popular website that profiled offerings of digital asset securities. The SEC’s order found that Blotics violated the anti-touting provisions of the federal securities laws by failing to disclose the compensation it received from issuers of the digital asset securities it profiled. Visitors to Coinschedule.com were presented with details about…

One of the poster-children for the ICO craze in late 2017-18 was an iced-tea company in Long Island, New York known as the Long Island Iced Tea Co. From approximately 2015 to 2017, the company’s principal business was ready-to-drink beverages. In December 2017, the company changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp. (LBC) and announced that it was shifting its business operations from soft drink production to activities related to blockchain technology. The rebranding with…

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced on May 28, 2021 that it had filed an action against five individuals alleging that they promoted a global unregistered digital asset securities offering that raised over $2 billion from retail investors. These activities relate to BitConnect, which shut down its business in early 2018, shortly after, as we reported, the Texas State Securities Board issued a cease and desist letter. At that time, the regulator alleged that…