Only a few states have issued guidance on the sales tax treatment of digital currency transactions. On November 2, 2020, Kansas joined this group, with Notice 20-04, Sales Tax Requirements Concerning Digital Currency Under the Retailers’ Sales and Compensating Tax Acts, issued by the Kansas Department of Revenue.
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The Wyoming Division of Banking issued a No-Action Letter in October 2020 in response to a request from a Wyoming-chartered public trust company seeking the Division of Banking’s position on the ability of the company to custody digital assets as well as hold itself out as a “qualified custodian.” The NAL prompted the Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue a public statement seeking public comment on matters concerning the definition of “qualified custodian” under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and Rule 206(4)-2 thereunder.
Continue Reading SEC and Wyoming Division of Banking Address Custody of Digital Assets

PayPal released a press release on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, announcing the launch of a new cryptocurrency service that will enable its users to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies. The press release comes on the heels of the New York Department of Financial Services announcement that PayPal was granted the state’s first “conditional BitLicense.”
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On Monday, October 19, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced a $60 million civil money penalty against Larry Dean Harmon, the founder, administrator and primary operator of unlicensed convertible virtual currency “mixers” for alleged violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations.
Continue Reading FinCEN Issues $60M Fine for Convertible Virtual Currency BSA Violations

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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On Monday, September 21, 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued an interpretive letter on the authority of national banks and federal savings associations to hold stablecoin reserves. That same day, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology issued a statement on the OCC’s interpretive letter. While not an official joint statement, the federal agencies were clearly aligned as FinHub’s statement on the OCC Interpretive Letter was posted on its website before the OCC published its letter.
Continue Reading OCC and SEC’s FinHub Issue Guidance on Stablecoins

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