Following up on President Biden’s recent executive order on digital assets, the US Treasury Department recently announced the publication of three reports on digital assets.  The reports address issues relating to The Future of Money and Payments; Implications for Consumers, Investors, and Businesses; and an Action Plan to Address Illicit Financing Risks of Digital Assets.

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In recent months, members of Congress have introduced a wide variety of bills seeking to create a new federal regulatory regime for digital assets. NASAA, which is an umbrella organization for state and provincial securities regulators in the US, Canada and Mexico, recently submitted a letter to Congress critical of one such bill that lays out a series of arguments more broadly against federal action.

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From IRS rulings that “virtual currency” is taxed as “property” to an SEC lawsuit claiming that digital assets are “securities” under federal law, meteoric growth of the largely unregulated crypto industry has raised numerous questions about whether crypto-related risks are covered by insurance. In the latest example of the intersection of crypto and insurance, a California federal court recently held that cryptocurrency stolen from a Coinbase account did not constitute a covered loss under a homeowner’s insurance policy. The fundamental issue was whether the stolen crypto met the policy’s requirement for “direct physical loss to property” and, more specifically, whether the losses were “physical” in nature. The court ruled against coverage, reasoning that lost control of cryptocurrency is not a direct physical loss as a matter of California law.

Continue Reading California Holds Stolen Cryptocurrency Does Not Qualify as “Physical” Loss Under Homeowners’ Policy

On August 10, 2022, 3-2 majorities of the SEC and CFTC voted to propose amendments to Form PF reporting for certain investment advisers to private investment funds. Among the many proposed amendments to the form, the proposed rules would for the first time require covered investment advisers to report on certain digital asset investments.

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Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are creating new economic opportunities in old, familiar spaces. To capitalize on the current popularity of NFTs, some retailers are turning to the timeless art of nostalgia: reworking old media or products into an NFT collection to advertise a brand in an online space or bring new attention (and customers) to a vintage product.

Continue Reading NFTs: For Many Retailers, the “N” Stands for Nostalgia

In a series of parallel actions announced on July 21, 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated criminal and civil charges against three defendants in the first cryptocurrency insider trading case.

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LCX AG, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Liechtenstein, recently lost nearly $8 million in digital assets from a cyberattack. The perpetrator’s identity was unknown. Through the public ledger, LCX found the blockchain address that received the stolen assets, and quickly filed a complaint in New York to freeze certain of those assets.[1] Without any other way to contact the perpetrator, the court permitted LCX to serve the wallet address with an NFT containing a hyperlink to the required legal notice documents.[2] This may be the first example of service-by-NFT.

Continue Reading You’ve Been Served… By NFT?

In a June 9, 2022 letter to the Directors of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and US Copyright Office, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) requested that the agencies jointly undertake a study of intellectual property (IP) rights considerations with respect to non-fungible tokens (NFT or NFTs).

Continue Reading Senators Dive Into the World of NFTs, Asking US Patent and Copyright Offices to Consider Questions Regarding Related IP Rights

On June 3, 2022, House Energy and Commerce Chair Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ranking Member Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) released a new comprehensive federal privacy bill, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (“ADPPA”).

Continue Reading House and Senate Release a Bipartisan U.S. Federal Privacy Bill

On June 8, 2022, New York’s Department of Financial Services released interpretive guidance on the “Issuance of U.S. Dollar-Backed Stablecoins.” The guidance applies to entities that issue stablecoins under DFS supervision, and addresses three broad topics—redeemability, reserve requirements, and monthly attestation by an independent CPA firm.

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