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On April 3, 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took a first step toward providing greater clarity on the key question of how to evaluate whether transactions involving issuance or sales of digital tokens are sales of securities subject to U.S. securities laws and regulations. To read the full client alert, please visit reedsmith.com.…
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) held a public meeting of the Technology Advisory Committee (“TAC”) on March 27, 2019.  The TAC is sponsored by CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz and Daniel Gorfine, Director of LabCFTC, is the Designated Federal Officer.  The TAC, comprised of industry business, technology, and legal minds, meets periodically to discuss pressing technology-related issues affecting the commodity and derivative markets and regulation. This meeting of the TAC consisted of four panels focusing…
Quadriga “Loses” Keys to Stored Digital Assets Quadriga, Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is unable to gain access to about $145 million (USD) of bitcoin and other digital assets following the sudden death of Gerald Cotten, its co-founder and CEO, in December 2018.  According to Quadriga, Cotten stored those digital assets in a “cold wallet” on his encrypted laptop and repeated attempts by his widow to gain access to the laptop have proved unsuccessful.  Additionally, details…
After several successful trials over the last year, Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, Zim, has implemented a blockchain platform for electronic bills of lading.  According to Zim, this technology could replace paper bills of lading and further improve other activities which rely on physical means of transfer. Zim recently conducted several transactions in which bills of lading were transferred to the receiver less than two hours from the vessel’s departure, a process that typically takes…
After several successful trials over the last year, Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, Zim, has implemented a blockchain platform for electronic bills of lading.  According to Zim, this technology could replace paper bills of lading and further improve other activities which rely on physical means of transfer. Zim recently conducted several transactions in which bills of lading were transferred to the receiver less than two hours from the vessel’s departure, a process that typically takes…
On November 28, 2018, the United States District Court for the Southern District of California denied the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) request for a preliminary injunction against Defendants Blockvest, LLC (Blockvest) and Blockvest’s founder and chairman Reginald Buddy Ringgold, III (Ringgold). Securities and Exchange Commission v. Blockvest, LLC, et al.[1] The SEC alleged that Blockvest and Ringgold were offering and selling unregistered securities in the form of digital assets called BLV tokens.…
On Friday, November 16, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it settled two cases against digital token issuers. The settlements, one with CarrierEQ Inc. (AirFox) and the other with Paragon Coin Inc. (Paragon), are the first time that the SEC has imposed civil penalties on companies solely for offering digital tokens in an initial coin offering (ICO) that allegedly violates the securities laws. In addition to agreeing to pay civil fines…
In March of this year, the NFA issued a notice reminded futures commission merchants (“FCM”), introducing brokers (“IB”), commodity pool operators (“CPO”) and commodity trading advisors (“CTA”) that trade in, solicit or accept orders in virtual currency products (spot and derivatives) of their ongoing obligation to notify the NFA of such activities by amending the annual questionnaire (please see Reed Smith client alert here).  More recently, the NFA issued an August 2018 Interpretive Notice…
Most companies considering an Initial Coin Offering to U.S. purchasers have resigned themselves to the fact that their proposed token or coin offering is likely to be considered an offering of securities by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and must be made in compliance with U.S. securities laws. The logical next question then becomes – “what are my options?” Traditional IPO A traditional initial public offering (“IPO”) of equity securities usually requires extensive meetings…
Governor John Kasich signed a bill into law on Friday, August 3, 2018, adding Ohio to the list of U.S. states enacting blockchain legislation.  Introduced last October and passed by the House at the end of June, SB 220 legally recognizes records or contracts and signatures secured through blockchain technology.  Specifically, the bill amends Section 1306.01 of Ohio’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, reflecting a “record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is considered…