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SWIFT publishes “Follow the Money” report to aid comprehension of money laundering risks underpinning large-scale cyber-heists

In September 2020, SWIFT (a global member-owned cooperative and provider of secure financial messaging services) published a report to support market participants in understanding the money laundering techniques which underpin large-scale cyber-attacks. The report sets out the end-to-end journey commonly used by criminals to launder funds obtained through illicit cyber-crime related activities, and focusses on … Continue Reading

BIS publishes speech on reg tech and sup tech

On 21 August 2020, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) published a speech by Benoît Cœuré, Head of the BIS Innovation Hub, which focussed on the main challenges to the development of reg tech and sup tech in the financial services sector. Cœuré begins by describing the differences between reg and sup tech – namely … 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

A little less privacy: cryptocurrency transactions under the Fourth Amendment

For some people, the appeal of using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin includes the perception that they may offer greater privacy protections for financial transactions, including shielding them from law enforcement scrutiny. A recent federal appellate ruling in a Fourth Amendment case suggests this perception may not align with current legal reality. In his latest column in … 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

Monthly Global FinTech regulatory updater

Every month we provide the Global Blockchain Business Council’s Post-Trade Distributed Ledger group with a global regulatory FinTech updater, the latest version of which can be found here. Post Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group is composed of over 40 prominent market infrastructure stakeholders whose shared vision of the use of distributed ledger technology has brought … Continue Reading

Monthly Global FinTech regulatory updater

Every month we provide the Global Blockchain Business Council’s Post-Trade Distributed Ledger group with a global regulatory FinTech updater, the latest version of which can be found here. Post Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group is composed of over 40 prominent market infrastructure stakeholders whose shared vision of the use of distributed ledger technology has brought … Continue Reading

Recent US federal court case examines SAFTs under federal securities laws

Cryptocurrency and token offerings present a regulatory paradox. The Securities and Exchange Commission contends that in various circumstances cryptocurrency and token offerings constitute “securities” that must comply with securities laws. A potential approach: “simple agreements for future tokens” or SAFTS. In a recent New York Law Journal column, Robert Schwinger, a partner in the New … Continue Reading

Monthly Global FinTech regulatory updater

Every month we provide the Global Blockchain Business Council’s Post-Trade Distributed Ledger group with a global regulatory FinTech updater, the latest version of which can be found here. Post Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group is composed of over 40 prominent market infrastructure stakeholders whose shared vision of the use of distributed ledger technology has brought … Continue Reading

US bank regulators issue cloud computing security guidance

On April 30, 2020, the US Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), an interagency group of federal and state banking regulators, issued guidance on “Security in a Cloud Computing Environment.” The FFIEC guidance focuses on security risk management principles and the financial services sector’s use of cloud computing, and supplements its publications on outsourcing of … Continue Reading

Monthly global FinTech regulatory updater

Every month we provide the Global Blockchain Business Council’s Post-Trade Distributed Ledger group with a global regulatory FinTech updater, the latest version of which can be found here. Post Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group is composed of over 40 prominent market infrastructure stakeholders whose shared vision of the use of distributed ledger technology has brought … Continue Reading

NYDFS Requires COVID-19 Plans by April 9

On March 10, 2020, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) issued guidance to all of its regulated institutions engaged in virtual currency business activity, requiring them to have plans for preparedness to manage the possible operational and financial risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. NYDFS requires the plans to be submitted by Thursday, … Continue Reading

Monthly global FinTech regulatory updater

Every month we provide the Global Blockchain Business Council’s Post-Trade Distributed Ledger group with a global regulatory FinTech updater, the latest version of which can be found here. Post Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group is composed of over 40 prominent market infrastructure stakeholders whose shared vision of the use of distributed ledger technology has brought them … 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

Monthly global FinTech regulatory updater

Every month we provide the Global Blockchain Business Council’s Post-Trade Distributed Ledger group with a global regulatory FinTech updater, the latest version of which can be found here. Post Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) Group is composed of over 40 prominent market infrastructure stakeholders whose shared vision of the use of distributed ledger technology has brought … Continue Reading

US tax implications for “hard forks” and “air drops”

The US Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) on October 9, 2019, issued long-anticipated guidance on cryptocurrency transactions and federal tax rules in Revenue Ruling 2019-24, which focuses on “hard forks” and “air drops.” In 2014, the IRS issued a revenue ruling on the capital gains taxation treatment of purchases and sales of cryptocurrency. However, other questions … Continue Reading

Can cryptocurrency issuers get “backed” into a corner?

What do cryptocurrency issuers mean when they say their cryptocurrency is “backed” by some other asset, such as fiat currency? In a recent New York Law Journal column, Robert Schwinger, a partner in the New York office of Norton Rose Fulbright, discusses some of the legal issues arising from claims by cryptocurrency issuers that their … 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

Liability Rumblings Along the Blockchain

When parties conduct transactions via blockchain technology, they may find themselves in relationships to one another that the law has not yet had the opportunity to clearly define. In a recent New York Law Journal column, Robert Schwinger, a partner in the New York office of Norton Rose Fulbright, discusses how Courts, commentators, governmental officials, … 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

FinCEN issues advisory and guidance on virtual currency

On May 9, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) agency, announced issuance of both Guidance and an Advisory on how transactions involving convertible virtual currencies (CVCs) would be subject to FinCEN’s money services business (MSB) regulations. FinCEN characterized the Guidance as a consolidation of its regulations, previous guidance and … 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
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