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.”
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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.
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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?

On October 8, 2020, the Department of Justice’s Cyber-Digital Task Force released an 83-page report entitled “Cryptocurrency: An Enforcement Framework.” The DOJ report highlights many of the legal and enforcement risks posed in the burgeoning crypto marketplace, and includes various enforcement case studies as well as informative graphics.
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Providing additional clarity on the role of an alternative trading system (ATS) in the settlement of digital asset security trades, the staff of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets issued a no-action letter to FINRA on September 25, 2020.  In brief, the SEC staff endorsed a three-step settlement process for digital asset securities held in a third-party’s custody if certain customer-protection conditions are met.
Continue Reading SEC Staff Provides Guidance on Non-Custodial Digital Asset Settlement

In a recent speech entitled “Reinventing the Wheel (with More Automation)”, Andrew Bailey, Governor and chief executive of the Bank of England, discussed the future of digital currencies. According to Governor Bailey, we have reached the point in the cycle of innovation in payments where it is essential that we set the standards and thus the expectations for how innovation will take effect. It should not, in his opinion, happen the other way round, with the standard setting playing catch up.
Continue Reading Bank of England’s Governor Discusses Digital Currencies

As a show of continued interest in the development of cryptoasset solutions, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, recently sent a letter to Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks. Chairman Crapo’s letter requested an update on findings of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and information regarding next steps the OCC intends to take with respect to blockchain and distributed ledger technology.
Continue Reading Senate Banking Committee Shows Continued Interest in Cryptoassets

Effective August 1, 2020, Louisiana adopted the Virtual Currency Business Act. In doing so it becomes the second state after New York to require certain operators of virtual currency businesses to obtain a virtual currency license in order to conduct business in the state. The Act is perhaps notable not so much for the conduct it covers, but rather the very broad classes of persons and businesses granted exemptions from regulation.
Continue Reading Louisiana Adopts Virtual Currency Business Act