On July 20, 2021, New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General announced that the State’s Bureau of Securities issued a Summary Cease and Desist Order to stop BlockFi, Inc. from selling unregistered securities in the form of interest-bearing cryptocurrency accounts. While commentators frequently focus on the enforcement activities of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the crypto space, New Jersey’s action against DeFi platform BlockFi serves as a reminder that state securities regulators also actively police this marketplace.
Continue Reading New Jersey Orders DeFi Platform to Cease Offering Interest-Bearing Crypto Accounts

On May 11, 2021, staff in the Division of Investment Management (IM) at the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a statement (the Statement) on “Funds Registered Under the Investment Company Act Investing in the Bitcoin Futures Market.” The Statement provides a series of warnings to retail investors about certain risks associated with investments in registered mutual funds whose portfolios include Bitcoin futures. But the Statement also provides further insight into the way SEC staff analyze the market for Bitcoin Futures more broadly.
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A recent Bloomberg article reported that average prices for nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, are down approximately 70 percent from recent highs. A wide range of NFTs have begun to enter the marketplace over the past several months. A digital work of art represented by an NFT recently sold at auction for over $69 million, and even a professional sports league has begun to issue NFTs. A fascinating debate about the social and economic utility of NFTs has emerged, but what are some of the legal issues associated with this new digital asset class?
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As we previously reported, the New York Attorney General has been in protracted litigation with crypto exchange Bitfinex and affiliated stablecoin-issuer Tether. On February 23, 2021, the Attorney General announced a definitive settlement of the matter. The settlement cements the New York Attorney General’s intention aggressively to police the virtual currency marketplace using the expansive anti-fraud authority granted under the Martin Act
Continue Reading New York Attorney General Announces Settlement with Bitfinex

In some of her first remarks on the subject of digital assets since Senate confirmation, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sounded an alarm on Bitcoin. In an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, Secretary Yellen described Bitcoin as frequently used “for illicit finance” and “an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions.”
Continue Reading Treasury Secretary Skeptical of Bitcoin

In the past week, Canadian securities regulators approved the offering of the first two Canadian Bitcoin ETFs. By holding Bitcoin, the Canadian funds intend to provide investors with access to the US dollar and Canadian dollar price of Bitcoin through an ETF structure. The ETF units have been conditionally approved for listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Continue Reading Two Bitcoin ETFs Approved for Sale in Canada

As has been widely reported, President Biden has nominated Gary Gensler to be the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The former CFTC chairman under President Obama, Gensler currently teaches courses on blockchain and digital assets at MIT. What should the crypto community expect of Mr. Gensler as SEC chair?
Continue Reading President Biden’s Nominee for SEC Chairman: What Does It Mean for Crypto?