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.”
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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. 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

On January 20, 2022, the Federal Reserve Board published a discussion paper on the potential for a US central bank digital currency, or CBDC.  Entitled “Money and Payments: The U.S. Dollar in the Age of Digital Transformation,” the paper provides further insight into the public policy concerns guiding the Fed as it deliberates whether to adopt a US CBDC.
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The Hunton Andrews Kurth Blockchain team would like to provide you with an update on legal developments in the world of blockchain technology, as posted on this blog. Here is a selection of our top 10 posts from 2021 we thought might be of interest to you.
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On December 1, 2021, Freddie Mac published Bulletin 2021-36 for Freddie Mac sellers to provide updated guidance on eligibility criteria for qualifying mortgages. Freddie Mac publishes such bulletins on a regular basis for loan originators who wish to resell mortgages to Freddie Mac, and Bulletin 2021-36 covers a number of routine topics such as 2022 conforming loan limits, certain credit underwriting criteria and document custody. The bulletin is notable, however, because it specifically addresses requirements related to cryptocurrency’s use in the mortgage qualification process.
Continue Reading Freddie Mac Addresses Cryptocurrency in Mortgage Lending Criteria

On November 23, 2021, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs sent a series of letters to prominent stablecoin issuers and cryptocurrency exchanges. Citing the recent President’s Working Group on Financial Markets report on stablecoins, the letters seek to clarify basic operational features of various stablecoins which the Committee believes is critical to improving its understanding of digital assets.
Continue Reading Senate Banking Committee Probes Stablecoins