Law of the Ledger

Legal Issues with Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

*This is an updated version of the Global Trade Law Blog’s December 10th post . Key Takeaways: Emerging technology sectors are being reviewed now for new export controls that could take effect in 2019 (list below). You may submit comments on the criteria the U.S. government will use to determine what technologies are subject to export controls. The deadline for comments has been extended to January 10, 2019. We can help.…
The use of digital securities or security tokens has coincided with the explosion of crypto-currencies and efforts to establish Internet-traded coins or tokens with utility as a form of currency. Lost amidst the enthusiasm over the revolutionary implications of crypto-currencies is the simple fact that security tokens which use block-chain technology and smart contracts have significant advantages over traditional platforms for issuing, holding and trading securities.…
Smart contracts, also referred to as chaincode in the Hyperledger world, are one of the most powerful aspects of blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). This “self-executing” code can receive various inputs and, based on “if-then” logic encoded therein, can take various actions and update the ledger state. Based on recent actions by U.S. regulators, smart contract developers need to be aware of potential liabilities that they may face (beyond the usual issues with software…
Christie’s made history again last night during its evening sale, An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, at 20 Rockefeller Center in New York. This time, the history was not in the form of a record-setting sale (though the sale brought in $317.8 million), but as the first major art auction to be recorded by distributed ledger technology. Christie’s teamed with Artory, a company that operates an art-focused, blockchain-based registry, to securely…
A version of this article originally appeared on Law360 on November 7, 2018. Blockchain technology and smart contracts have the potential to become major disrupters in the energy industry. For example, these technologies may accelerate the automation of some or all aspects of the electricity delivery transaction chain and allow for more decentralized, efficient electricity markets. Further, these technologies may allow end users (such as homeowners) to play a more active role in the electricity…
Over the past couple of years, the crypto industry has come under heavy scrutiny from skeptical regulators seeking to root out fraud and protect investors amid the initial coin offering boom that generated over $4 billion in 2017. However, this skepticism is starting to give way to a more business-friendly attitude. Crypto firms have made notable headway with regulators in recent months, securing authorizations to act as custodians of digital assets and working towards approval…
Distributed ledger technology is continuing to be thought of as the technology that can address some of the issues that plague the music and content-creation space. Our Music Festival (“OMF”) is relying on this technology to develop a music festival and fan-interaction network that will be powered by its currency token, known as an “OMF Token.” OMF was founded by Justin Blau (the DJ known as 3LAU), Adam Lynn and Kevin Edelson and they are…
On their own, blockchain technology, open source software, and patents each present legal issues that are often complex and frequently misunderstood. When combined, the complexity and misunderstandings of these three topics are magnified. This set of issues is important now because blockchain technology is on the verge of mainstream commercialization and much of it relies on open source software. As with any technology where there is rapid innovation, the number of patents being filed and…
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) obtained an important court win and boost to its regulatory authority over Cryptocurrencies this month. A federal district court in Massachusetts recently issued a decision in CFTC v. My Big Coin Pay Inc. which affirmed the CFTC’s position that all virtual currencies are commodities and subject to CFTC jurisdiction.[1] The opinion follows another recent district court opinion in New York, CFTC v. McDonnell, in which a court also…
Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has great potential to solve many of the fundamental challenges facing the music industry today. Blockchain technology including distributed, decentralized ledgers, smart contracts, and the ability to tokenize digital assets, is uniquely suited to address issues such as rights management, licensing, copyright ownership, royalty tracking and reporting and the primary and secondary ticketing markets for live events. Various aspects of the technology are currently being used to address some…