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Risks Associated with Cryptocurrency Activities Continue to be Top-of-Mind for Federal Banking Regulators

For those tracking developments impacting the crypto-asset space, the summer has been far from slow and leisurely. Multiple industry alerts flow daily with news of new legislative proposals, enforcement actions, and other events or issues impacting the industry. The news is inevitably accompanied by calls for greater legal certainty regarding crypto-asset characterization and clarity around the regulatory framework governing the industry. While news flows quickly, the pace of substantive developments, however, has been frustratingly slow for many. Unmoved by demands for ...

Beyond “Security or Commodity”: Different Types of Digital Assets

In a prior post, we discussed the recent proposed rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) regarding certain non-public information reported to the SEC and the CFTC in the Form PF. Most of the rule is discussing information and requirements that are not related to or focused on digital assets. However, in one part, there is a proposal to request information from private funds about their “digital assets”.

The definition from the SEC and CFTC for “digital assets” is broad and all encompassing. As a ...

SEC and CFTC Agree on a Single Definition of “Digital Asset” – More is Needed

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) (collectively, the “Agencies”) jointly proposed a rule (the “Proposed Rule”) that would impact existing confidential reporting obligations of private equity funds and other collective investment vehicles not registered as an “investment company” (referred to as, “Private Funds”). The rule proposes changes to the Form PF, a non-public report for certain SEC-registered investment advisers to Private Funds, which get submitted to the SEC (and CFTC ...

Coinbase: Regulation by Enforcement? CFTC & Market Implications

A Bloomberg article last week suggests potentially more bad news is on the way for Coinbase Global Inc. (“Coinbase”). Coinbase is reportedly facing an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) into whether it let customers trade digital assets that the SEC believes should have been registered as securities. Rumors of investigations by the SEC do not necessarily suggest problems for the company at the center of those rumors, but the timing of a recent SEC complaint (SEC v. Wahi) may explain why this report had such a negative effect on Coinbase’s ...

NYDFS Releases Stablecoin Guidance for NYDFS-regulated Institutions

On June 8, 2022, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) released industry guidance applicable to U.S. dollar-backed stablecoins issued by NYDFS-regulated entities (the “Guidance”). The Guidance focuses on NYDFS requirements relating to the redeemability of these stablecoins, the asset reserves that back them (the “Reserves”), and auditor examination and attestations regarding management’s assertions concerning the sufficiency of the Reserves.  

By way of background, a stablecoin is a type of digital asset that is intended to ...

SEC Announces Exam Priorities for 2022

On March 30, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Division of Examinations released its exam priorities for fiscal year 2022 (the “2022 Priorities”). As in years past, these exam priorities naturally follow from SEC rulemakings, statements, risk alerts and other guidance issued in the past year, and reflect practices or topics that may pose higher risk for referral to the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

The 2022 Priorities include broader thematic “Significant Focus Areas,” which may be applicable to both broker-dealers and registered ...

New Executive Order Signals Further Delay for the Regulation of Cryptocurrencies and Continuing Interest Around a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency

President Biden signed an executive order today setting forth an agenda across the U.S. government to address risks related to cryptocurrencies while encouraging continued innovation around digital assets and funds transfer and payment systems. The order represents an acknowledgement by the Biden administration of the prevalence of cryptocurrencies in the U.S. and global economies and their ability to facilitate access to financial services within traditionally underserved communities. The order conveys a need for the U.S. to keep up with these technological advances ...

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