In one of the first criminal cases brought under US sanctions laws involving cryptocurrency transactions, a federal magistrate judge approved the Department of Justice’s criminal complaint. In the opinion unsealed on May 13, 2022, US Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqi ruled that the Department of Justice demonstrated probable cause in accusing an unnamed defendant of transmitting more than $10 million in bitcoin to a “comprehensively sanctioned” country.

Continue Reading Judge Rules in Criminal Sanctions Case Involving Cryptocurrency

On May 4, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed executive order N-9-22 regarding blockchain and crypto assets, with the objective to “spur responsible web3 innovation, grow jobs, and protect consumers.” According to the accompanying press release, the executive order “aims to create a transparent regulatory and business environment for web3 companies which harmonizes federal and California approaches, balances the benefits and risks to consumers, and incorporates California values such as equity, inclusivity, and environmental protection.”

Continue Reading California Governor Signs Blockchain Executive Order

A small but growing number of employees are asking for cryptocurrency as a form of compensation.  Whether a substitute for wages or as part of an incentive package, offering cryptocurrency as compensation has become a way for some companies to differentiate themselves from others.  In a competitive labor market, this desire to provide innovative forms of compensation is understandable.  But any company thinking about cryptocurrency needs to be aware of the risks involved, including regulatory uncertainties and market volatility. Continue Reading Cryptocurrency As Compensation: Beware Of The Risks

On February 28, 2022, the Emirate of Dubai enacted Law No. 4 of 2022 on the Regulation of Virtual Assets (“VAL”) and established the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (“VARA”). By establishing a legal framework for businesses related to virtual assets, including crypto assets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), this landmark law reflects Dubai’s vision to become one of the leading jurisdictions for entrepreneurs and investors of blockchain technology. Continue Reading Dubai Issues Its First Crypto Law Regulating Virtual Assets

Please join Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP for a webinar:

Intellectual Property and the Blockchain, Part 1

Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and Retail:  Protecting Your Brand With Trademarks

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
12:30 pm ET

REGISTER NOW

It is well-known that a trademark is a word, name, symbol, design, or phrase used to identify and distinguish a product or service, and to indicate the source of the product or service. But, do you know whether your cryptocurrency brand may function—or receive protection—as a trademark? Or how you may use your existing retail brand in connection with an NFT?

In this presentation, the first of a series, we will discuss the intersection of trademark law and cryptocurrency, NFTs, and retail, a collection of seemingly unrelated topics that are growing increasingly interconnected in the digital age.

You can expect to learn about:

  • Cryptocurrency – what it is and how it may be protected by trademark law;
  • NFTs (non-fungible tokens) – what they are, how brands are using them, and related trademark (and copyright) issues;
  • The link between retailers and NFTs; and
  • Best practice takeaways.

Who Should Attend: In-house IP counsel, general counsel, and other legal professionals and brand owners.

Speakers:

  • Sherli M. Furst, Associate, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • Mayme Beth F. Donohue, Associate, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • Omid Malekan, Associate in Business, Columbia Business School

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP will seek CLE credit for this program in CA, FL, GA, MA, NC, NJ, NY, TX and VA only. Credit hours are not guaranteed and are subject to each state’s approval rules.

On March 31, 2022, the staff of the Division of Corporation Finance and the Office of the Chief Accountant of the SEC issued Staff Accounting Bulletin (SAB) No. 121 (SAB 121), which “adds interpretive guidance for entities to consider when they have obligations to safeguard crypto-assets held for their platform users.” SAB 121 highlights the enhanced technological, legal and regulatory risks associated with safeguarding digital assets, as compared with more traditional asset classes. Specifically, SAB 121 asserts that a company is subject to “significant increased risks… including an increased risk of financial loss” when that company controls the cryptographic keys associated with a user’s digital assets. As a result, the staff believes that reporting companies should quantify and disclose that obligation, and record a liability and corresponding asset on their balance sheets at fair value.

Continue Reading SEC Issues SAB 121 Providing Accounting Guidance for Companies that Safeguard Digital Assets

On March 24, 2022, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced charges against two defendants and alleged an ongoing fraud involving the sale of nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The federal criminal case is among the first involving NFTs and foreshadows further regulatory scrutiny of the popular digital asset class.

Continue Reading DOJ Brings Criminal Charges Against Two Defendants in NFT Fraud

Ryan G. Rich and Navy Binning 

Two leading international brands have filed lawsuits in 2022 to prevent the sale of digital NFTs depicting their physical products, and both cases will test existing trademark law and impact online retailers of NFTs. Continue Reading Rising Trend in NFT Litigation Over Popular Brands

On March 9, 2022, the Biden Administration released its much-anticipated “Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets” (Executive Order). The White House describes the Executive Order as the “first whole-of-government strategy” on digital assets and attempts to strike a balance between encouraging innovation and US leadership in the digital asset space, while signaling an appetite to protect against a variety of stated risks through additional regulation and legislation. Continue Reading President Biden Issues Executive Order on Digital Assets

What Happened:

On March 8, 2022, President Biden issued an Executive Order (the “March 8 Executive Order”)1 prohibiting the importation of Russian-origin oil, liquified natural gas (“LNG”), and coal into the United States and prohibiting US persons from making new investments in Russia’s energy sector.  The March 8 Executive Order also prohibits US persons from providing any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee to a foreign person seeking to import Russian-origin oil into the United States or make new investments in Russia’s energy sector.  The March 8 Executive Order follows on a series of significant US sanctions actions against Russia in recent weeks.  The US Department of Justice and Treasury Department also announced additional efforts and guidance intended to emphasize US sanctions efforts and to provide guidance on detecting and preventing efforts by blocked persons to evade sanctions, including through the use of cryptocurrency.  On March 9, 2022, President Biden issued an Executive Order (the “Executive Order on Digital Assets”) directing US government agencies to study and report on cryptocurrencies and other digital assets and consider, among other things, the use of digital assets to circumvent US sanctions.2 Continue Reading US Sanctions Target Russia’s Energy Sector and Ban Imports of Russian Oil, LNG, and Coal as Enforcement Efforts Increase and Agencies Consider Cryptocurrency and Other Digital Assets