Andrew Lom (US)

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Wyoming to Recognize DAOs as LLCs

On April 21, 2021, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed Bill 38 into law allowing Wyoming to recognize decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) as limited liability companies. The bill was sponsored by Wyoming’s Select Committee on Blockchain, Financial Technology and Digital Innovation Technology and takes effect July 1, 2021. Generally, a DAO is an organization controlled by … Continue Reading

Navigating global crypto-custody requirements

29 April 2021 09:00 – 10:00 BST / 16:00 – 17:00 HKT 16:00 – 17:00 BST / 11:00 – 12:00 EDT As the global crypto-economy continues to grow and mature, one area stands out as a critical core capability: custody. In this webinar, members of our global financial services team will compare notes on their … Continue Reading

Commissioner Peirce Highlights Need for Regulators to Embrace Technology

In recent weeks, Commissioner Hester Peirce of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) gave two speeches highlighting the need for legal clarity in the FinTech space and for legacy financial firms to embrace innovation. Speaking at a George Washington University Law School event – Regulating the Digital Economy Conference – Commissioner Peirce discussed the recent … Continue Reading

SEC’s Division of Examinations Releases Risk Alert for Digital Asset Securities

On February 26, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Division of Examinations (the “Division” and formerly known as “OCIE”) released a Risk Alert (the “Risk Alert”) reminding market participants – investment advisers, broker-dealers, exchanges, and transfer agents – of the framework surrounding digital assets that are securities (“Digital Asset Securities”). The Division also set … Continue Reading

SEC Settles with BlueCrest: Algorithmic Trading and AI-Based Strategies Must be Disclosed to Investors

On December 8, 2020, BlueCrest Capital Management Limited (“BlueCrest”), a UK-based investment adviser, agreed to a $170 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to settle charges involving insufficient and misleading disclosures to investors that BlueCrest was also operating a proprietary, internal fund, moving its best traders to such fund and replacing the … Continue Reading

OCC Conditionally Approves Bank Charter for Second Crypto Firm

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) granted crypto-focused Protego Trust Company, a Washington state trust company, conditional approval to convert to a national trust bank earlier this month, marking only the second time that a federal bank charter has been approved for a crypto firm – and the first since the January … Continue Reading

US SEC amends rules to simplify and expand the exempt offering framework

On November 2, 2020, in an effort to harmonize and modernize the exempt offering framework under the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a final rule entitled “Facilitating Capital Formation and Expanding Investment Opportunities by Improving Access to Capital in Private Markets.” In a new legal … Continue Reading

US SEC adopts amendments to expand scope of “accredited investor” definition

On August 26, 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to expand the scope of the “accredited investor” definition, allowing a greater pool of investors to access the private capital markets. The amendments add new categories of qualified natural persons who meet certain professional knowledge or certification requirements and expand the list … Continue Reading

SEC and CFTC issue Settlement and Order against Abra simultaneously

In what appears to be a coordinated effort, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) both issued orders relating to Plutus Financial—doing business as Abra—and its Philippines-centered partner, Plutus Technologies Philippine Corporation (Plutus Tech). The July 13, 2020 orders found Abra and Plutus Tech had violated sections of the Securities Act … Continue Reading

OCC issues groundbreaking interpretive letter on cryptocurrency custody services

On July 22, 2020, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued an interpretive letter concluding that national banks and federal savings associations have the authority to provide cryptocurrency custody services for customers. The letter, which uses the term “cryptocurrency” to encompass digital currencies, virtual currencies, and “digital assets that are not … Continue Reading

FINRA issues guidance on retail communications relating to private placements

On July 1, 2020, FINRA issued guidance to member firms on compliance with FINRA Rule 2210 (“Rule 2210”)) on the marketing of private placements to retail investors. These private placements are typically conducted under Rules 504, 506(b) or 506(c) of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, as “safe harbors” that permit … Continue Reading

SEC Proposes Amendments to Increase Reporting Threshold for Institutional Investment Managers

On July 10, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed amendments to amend Form 13F to update the reporting threshold for institutional investment managers and certain other changes. This marks the first time that the reporting threshold would be updated since its introduction more than 40 years ago. Pursuant to Section 13(f) of the … Continue Reading

SEC Proposes New Framework for Fund Valuation Practices

On April 21, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed new Rule 2a-5 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”) to “modernize” the framework for fund valuation practices applicable to mutual funds, business development companies and other “registered investment companies” under the 1940 Act (each, a “fund”). This framework has not … Continue Reading

“Crypto Mom” Proposes 3-Year Safe Harbor for Token Projects

In a speech to the International Blockchain Congress on February 6, 2020, Securities and Exchange (“SEC”) Commissioner Hester Peirce, sometime referred to as “Crypto Mom,” proposed a three-year safe harbor for virtual currency token projects.  The safe harbor would exempt (i) the offer and sale of tokens from the provisions of the Securities Act of … Continue Reading

LabCFTC importance is elevated and US financial regulators join the FinTech “Global Sandbox”

On October 24, 2019, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) Chairman Heath P. Tarbert announced that LabCFTC would become its own independent office within the agency, reporting directly to him. LabCFTC was established in 2017 within the Office of General Counsel to promote financial technology (“FinTech”) innovation and was designed to be a hub for … Continue Reading

SEC orders Block.one to pay $24 million penalty for unregistered ICO

On September 30, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a settlement with Block.one, a blockchain technology company with operations in Virginia and Hong Kong, for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering (“ICO”) that raised several billion dollars’ worth of Ether from June 2017 through June 2018. The SEC alleged that Block.one, a Cayman … Continue Reading

Cryptocurrency exchange intends to raise $130 Million through an IPO

On August 19, 2019, INX Limited (together with its affiliates, “INX”) filed a Form F-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) stating their intention to raise up to approximately $130 million through a registered initial public offering (“IPO”). If approved by the SEC, this would be the first security token sale registered with the … Continue Reading

SEC and FINRA address digital asset custody issues

The unique manner in which digital asset securities are issued, held and transferred makes them inevitably prone to unique concerns compared to traditional securities. As expected, these concerns have triggered conversation among market participants regarding whether and how traditional federal securities laws apply to novel digital asset securities and transactions. On July 8, 2019, the … Continue Reading

SEC sues Kik for its US$100m ICO

On June 4, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed a complaint against Kik Interactive, Inc. (“Kik”), which owns and operates a mobile messaging application called Kik Messenger, in connection with its 2017 initial coin offering (“ICO”) that raised over $100 million; more than $55 million of which came from U.S. investors. The SEC … Continue Reading

SEC Adopts Regulation Best Interest Increasing Broker-Dealer Standards of Care and Disclosure Obligations

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced it had adopted a number of rulemakings and interpretations aimed at tightening the standards of care governing broker-dealers and investment advisers and clarifying the duties of broker-dealers and investment advisers in providing investment advice. Rulemaking The SEC issued two final rules: (i) the new … Continue Reading

SEC Urges Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisors to Evaluate their Cloud-Based Storage Security Settings

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) recently noted that ineffective practices, policies, and procedures governing the use of third party cloud-based storage platforms could result in compliance issues under Regulations S-P (Safeguards Rule) and S-ID (Identity Theft Red Flag Rule). As a result, OCIE has issued a Risk … Continue Reading

No news is good news? The SEC may be undermining innovation in FinTech

On May 9, 2019, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce delivered a speech at the Securities Enforcement Forum in East Palo Alto, California, discussing the SEC’s impact on the FinTech space and growth of the digital asset industry. Commissioner Peirce admitted her prior prediction, that the SEC would discourage the industry’s growth through hurried regulation and overenthusiastic … Continue Reading

SEC issues first no-action letter for unregulated ICO

On April 3, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued its first no-action letter related to the offering and sale of digital tokens. The beneficiary is TurnKey Jet, Inc. (“TurnKey”) which proposes to offer and sell blockchain-based digital assets in the form of “tokenized” jet cards (“Tokens”). The no-action letter, which some see as … Continue Reading

Commissioner Peirce warns the SEC not to cast Howey’s net too wide

On February 8, 2019, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce delivered a speech at the symposium ”Protecting the Public While Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship: First Principles for Optimal Regulation.” Her remarks, entitled “Regulation: A View from Inside the Machine,” provide insight into how SEC regulators currently view certain technological innovations and how they interpret and apply the … Continue Reading
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