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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Texas is seeing considerable momentum with respect to a proposed digital asset law that is being considered in the 2021 legislative session in the form of House Bill 4474. In short, the Texas Virtual Currency Bill provides a basic legal framework for companies dealing with virtual currencies.
Continue Reading Texas Legislature Proposes Significant Virtual Currency Bill

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

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control settled with BitPay, Inc. for $507,375 to resolve 2,102 apparent violations of multiple US sanctions programs for allowing individuals located in sanctioned jurisdictions to use digital currency on its platform to transact with merchants in the United States and elsewhere.
Continue Reading OFAC Settles with Digital Currency Services Provider for Apparent Violations of Multiple Sanctions Programs

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