On June 8, 2022, New York’s Department of Financial Services released interpretive guidance on the “Issuance of U.S. Dollar-Backed Stablecoins.” The guidance applies to entities that issue stablecoins under DFS supervision, and addresses three broad topics—redeemability, reserve requirements, and monthly attestation by an independent CPA firm.
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On May 16, 2022, the US Department of State, US Department of Treasury, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued combined guidance (“IT Workers Advisory”) on efforts by North Korean nationals to secure freelance engagements as remote information technology (“IT”) workers by posing as non-North Korea nationals. The IT Workers Advisory provides employers with detailed information on how North Korean IT workers operate, highlights red flag indicators for companies hiring freelance developers and for freelance and payment platforms to identify these workers, and provides general mitigation measures for companies to better protect against inadvertently engaging these workers or facilitating the operations of the North Korean government in violation of US sanctions.

Continue Reading US Issues Guidance to Companies Warning of Cybersecurity and Sanctions Risks Posed by IT Workers Directed by North Korea

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 February 28, 2022, the Emirate of Dubai enacted Law No. 4 of 2022 on the Regulation of Virtual Assets and established the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority. By establishing a legal framework for businesses related to virtual assets, including crypto assets and non-fungible tokens, this landmark law reflects Dubai’s vision to become one of the leading jurisdictions for entrepreneurs and investors of blockchain technology.
Continue Reading Dubai Issues Its First Crypto Law Regulating Virtual Assets

On March 31, 2022, the staff of the Division of Corporation Finance and the Office of the Chief Accountant of the SEC issued Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121 (SAB 121), which “adds interpretive guidance for entities to consider when they have obligations to safeguard crypto-assets held for their platform users.” SAB 121 highlights the enhanced technological, legal and regulatory risks associated with safeguarding digital assets, as compared with more traditional asset classes.
Continue Reading SEC Issues SAB 121 Providing Accounting Guidance for Companies that Safeguard Digital Assets

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 March 9, 2022, the Biden Administration released its much-anticipated “Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets”. The White House describes the Executive Order as the “first whole-of-government strategy” on digital assets and attempts to strike a balance between encouraging innovation and US leadership in the digital asset space, while signaling an appetite to protect against a variety of stated risks through additional regulation and legislation. 
Continue Reading President Biden Issues Executive Order on Digital Assets

On March 8, 2022, President Biden issued an Executive Order prohibiting the importation of Russian-origin oil, liquified natural gas, and coal into the United States and prohibiting US persons from making new investments in Russia’s energy sector. On March 9, 2022, President Biden issued an Executive Order directing US government agencies to study and report on cryptocurrencies and other digital assets and consider, among other things, the use of digital assets to circumvent US sanctions.
Continue Reading US Sanctions Target Russia’s Energy Sector and Ban Imports of Russian Oil, LNG, and Coal as Enforcement Efforts Increase and Agencies Consider Cryptocurrency and Other Digital Assets