Christopher L. Boone

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Last week the SEC offered its clearest guidance yet on when blockchain tokens and other digital assets would be classified as “securities” under U.S. securities law and subject to SEC regulation. Specifically, the SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) issued its first-ever “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets.”…
CU Ledger, a consortium of U.S. credit unions, announced on Monday, March 11, that it will work with IBM to develop blockchain solutions to improve services such as identity authentication and know-your-customer (KYC) compliance. CU Ledger also indicated it is looking to blockchain to improve payments and lending. Marie Wieck, General Manager, IBM Blockchain explained that through their collaboration, “credit unions will be able to cooperate and receive shared value from quickly exchanging sensitive data…
As 2019 goes into full swing, it’s important for providers of payment processing services (referred to here as “acquirers”) and their merchants or submerchants to prepare for the various regulatory and industry changes coming this year. One such significant change comes in the form of Mastercard’s updated rules for negative option billing programs. Set to take effect on April 12, 2019, Mastercard’s new rules will tighten consumer protection requirements for negative option merchants and their…
Companies involved in global supply chain services are becoming increasingly interested in blockchain technology and how the use of this technology can enhance efficiency and security within the supply chain. Blockchain-based applications have enormous potential to transform transportation and logistics operations in the United States and worldwide. Last month at Transparency 18 in Atlanta, approximately 40 companies performed demonstrations for supply chain stakeholders from around the world exhibiting how software using blockchain and other disruptive…
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), responsible for enforcing U.S. economic sanctions, has taken its first steps to tackle the exploding use of digital currencies. On March 19, 2018, OFAC released a digital currency-related FAQ indicating that OFAC may include digital currency addresses on its Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN”) list of blocked persons, companies and entities. In its guidance, OFAC defines digital currency broadly to include “sovereign cryptocurrency, virtual currency (non-fiat), and a digital…
The Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment held a hearing, “Examining Cryptocurrencies and ICO Markets,” this past Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The stated goal of the hearing was to achieve greater regulatory clarity in the cryptocurrency and ICO markets, especially as these markets continue to grow and attract attention from investors and enterprises in pursuit of capital. Members of the subcommittee indicated that achieving this regulatory clarity would be critical to ensuring that…
CFPB Expands Call for Evidence with Additional RFIs The CFPB has now issued six RFIs as part of Acting Director Mulvaney’s Call for Evidence Regarding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Functions, which we have previously covered. The RFIs provide industry participants a chance to comment on the CFPB’s rules, policies, and practices regarding investigations, examinations, enforcement actions, and external engagement. Continue Reading
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, February 28, 2017, that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued “scores of subpoenas and information requests to technology companies and advisers” in a sweeping probe of the Initial Coin offering (ICO) and Token Sale industry. By way of background, ICOs or “Token Sales” typically involve the offer and sale of digital assets utilizing distributed ledger or blockchain technology. According to the report, the SEC is seeking…
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing on Tuesday on virtual currencies and the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in overseeing the virtual currency industry. Witnesses included SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo. A key takeaway of the hearing was a concern among regulators and Committee members of opportunistic fraud taking place amid the hype around virtual currencies, also…
The days of signing your grocery receipt may be over soon, as the four major credit card brands (American Express, Discover, Visa, and Mastercard) are each making efforts to do away with signatures for various credit card transactions. The extent and geographic reach of these changes, however, are different for each brand, but one commonality is that the changes will begin in April 2018. In particular, MasterCard will no longer…