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New York State has taken measures this year to modernize its approach to regulation for blockchain-based companies. Even before Assembly Bill A8783B established a government task force to study the effects of blockchain and digital assets on financial markets in the state, in October, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”) announced that it would allow companies engaged in “virtual currency business activity” (as defined in the New York State “BitLicense” requirements
Blockchain and sports gambling seem to be a natural fit. Sports gambling has been at the forefront of the news cycle since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal statute that banned states from authorizing sports gambling in Murphy v. NCAA. Since then, New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi and West Virginia have passed laws allowing wagering on the results of certain sporting events. New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are quickly moving towards the legalization…
On May 29, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama granted a motion to dismiss in part Plaintiff’s whistleblower retaliation claims under SOX on the grounds that the Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies against the Defendant CEO.  Wingo v. S. Co., 17-cv-01328. Background.  Plaintiff, a Project Manager, informed his supervisor that a project was on track for a delayed Commercial Operation Date (“COD”).   Plaintiff alleged that after he informed…
On April 17, 2018, the New York Attorney General’s Office (“OAG”) launched a Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative and sent letters to thirteen cryptoasset trading platforms requesting, through a questionnaire, disclosures on their operations, internal controls, and safeguards to protect customer assets.  The questionnaire focused on six major topic areas, including: 1) Ownership and Control, 2) Basic Operation and Fees, 3) Trading Policies and Procedures, 4) Outages and Other Suspensions of Trading, 5) Internal Controls,…
On April 19, 2018, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that providing testimony to FINRA (which is overseen by the SEC) does not constitute protected activity for purposes of establishing a Dodd-Frank whistleblower claim.  Price v. UBS Financial Services, Inc., No. 2:17-01882. Background.  Plaintiff, a former UBS Private Wealth Advisor, testified before FINRA regarding allegedly unlawful activities by company management.  After Plaintiff was terminated, Plaintiff brought anti-retaliation claims under…
Earlier this month, Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a preliminary injunction order against Patrick McDonnell and his company, CabbageTech, Corp. (together, the “Defendants”). In a landmark ruling, the order upheld the CFTC’s position that “virtual currencies” are commodities subject to CFTC jurisdiction under the Commodities Exchange Act. The preliminary injunction was issued in response to a CFTC complaint from late-January (discussed here),which…
On February 12, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi recently denied a motion for summary judgment in a SOX whistleblower claim where the defendant company alleged that it terminated the plaintiff pursuant to a reduction-in-force (RIF). Hendrick v. ITT Engineered Valves, LLC, No. 16-cv-204. Background. Plaintiff began working as Operational Excellence Manager at a company that was considering a RIF to respond to a decline business.  Recognizing that he…
On a daily basis, companies are announcing new developments on the adoption of blockchain in core business operations.  However, many of these use cases present unique legal issues.  In order to provide some clarity on some of these issues, and perhaps to offer a blockchain-friendly environment for the operation of blockchain companies, state legislatures around the country are rushing to adopt blockchain-friendly laws.  Among the latest states to join are Florida and Nebraska.…
GMO Internet Inc. (“GMO”) is a Japanese-based tech conglomerate with over 4,700 full-time employees and a market cap of over 200 billion yen.  Since May 2017, the organization has taken steps to enter the cryptocurrency space, including the creation of a cryptocurrency exchange targeted towards institutional investors and retail traders and the formation of a cryptocurrency mining business in Northern Europe. Recently, GMO released a statement that domestic employees will have the option to receive…
The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland recently denied a motion for summary judgment in a whistleblower retaliation claim under the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA), Section 1057 of Dodd-Frank, which was brought by an ex-foreclosure attorney, finding there were issues of material fact as to, among other things, the basis for the termination of the Plaintiff’s employment and whether he engaged in protected activity. Yoder v. The O’Neil Group, LLC,…