Not only do operators of virtual currency businesses face a growing body of federal regulations, but they must also contend with a patchwork of state laws. Recent guidance from the Texas Department of Banking provides a thoughtful discussion of the virtual currency industry and interprets the Texas Money Services Act for operators of virtual currency businesses doing business in the state.
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State and provincial securities regulators across the US and Canada have been actively policing the marketplace for ICOs and security token offerings, supplementing efforts at the federal level undertaken by the SEC. Colorado and North Dakota are among the latest states to announce enforcement actions in the crypto space.
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On November 8, 2018, the SEC announced settled charges against an unlicensed digital token exchange. It represents the SEC’s first enforcement action based on findings that such a platform operated as an unregistered national securities exchange. This action follows first-of-their kind enforcement actions that the SEC brought in September against an unregistered broker-dealer and an unregistered investment company that each transacted in digital securities.
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On Monday, October 22, 2018, Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York granted Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s motion for preliminary injunction in a trademark action against several foreign-based promoters and developers of a new cryptocurrency called “AlibabaCoin.” In doing so, the court considered several novel issues around personal jurisdiction and blockchain.
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