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Two new bills were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of January aimed at recommending possible legislative changes to regulate and promote virtual currencies, also known as cryptocurrencies. The first bill, H.R. 922, Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act of 2019 aims to promote fair and transparent virtual currency markets by examining the potential for price manipulation. The second bill, H.R. 923, the U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of
For the first time, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (“CFTC”) Division of Market Oversight (“DMO”), Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight, and Division of Clearing and Risk published Examination Priorities for the year. While the CFTC has historically published its Rules Enforcement Review of specific commodity exchanges with notes as to areas for improvement, this is the first proactive statement of the intended focus of the upcoming reviews across all areas. DMO will…
On January 22, 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) released its 2019 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter (Regulatory Notice No. 18-20) in which it identifies topics FINRA will focus on in the coming year. FINRA indicates that this year the securities self-regulatory organization will review “firms’ activities through its membership and examination process related to digital assets and assess compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations.” The letter goes on to indicate that…
As a result of the United States Congress not adopting an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution to fund specific government departments, agencies or functions, certain federal agencies are currently subject to a partial government shutdown. Below is an overview of how the partial federal government shutdown is affecting financial or other major regulatory agencies: Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) The SEC is operating on a limited staff who are available to respond to emergency…
  On November 13, 2018, the CFTC published its Final Rule (Final Rule) setting its de minimis exception threshold to swap dealer registration and regulation requirements at an aggregate gross notional amount (“AGNA”) threshold of $8 billion in swap dealing activity. Under the de minimis exception as originally adopted, a person would not be deemed to be a swap dealer (and thus subject to registration and regulation as such) unless its swap dealing activity…
On November 8, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it settled charges against Zachary Coburn, founder of EtherDelta, a digital token trading platform, for operating an unregistered national securities exchange. This is the SEC’s first enforcement action based on findings that a digital token trading platform operated as an unregistered national securities exchange.…
On November 8, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it settled charges against Zachary Coburn, founder of EtherDelta, a digital token trading platform, for operating an unregistered national securities exchange. This is the SEC’s first enforcement action based on findings that a digital token trading platform operated as an unregistered national securities exchange. The SEC’s Order (“Order”) finds that during an 18-month period, EtherDelta’s users executed more than 3.6 million orders for…
On October 16, 2018, Commissioner Brian Quintenz of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) shared his views on smart contract regulation by the CFTC. In his speech at the 38th Annual GITEX Technology Week Conference, in discussing a hypothetical where code in a smart contract was specifically designed to enable a type of activity regulated by the CFTC, and no effort was made to preclude its availability to U.S. persons, Quintenz, suggested that the CFTC…
On October 9, 2018, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) proposed changes to the registration and compliance obligations for commodity pool operators (“CPOs”) and commodity trading advisors (“CTAs”) consistent with relief currently provided by various staff letters and advisories. Comments are due sixty (60) days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. Some key aspects of the proposal include an exemption for multi-jurisdictional CPOs and family offices as well as an exclusion…