On December 11, 2019, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) published proposed guidance regarding adoption or listing of virtual currency by holders of a BitLicense. Specifically, under the proposed guidance, DFS seeks comment regarding two proposed changes affecting coin listings, both of which are intended to streamline and expedite the process.
Continue Reading New York Proposes Virtual Currency Guidance

On June 18, 2019, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced the commencement of a civil enforcement action (the Complaint) against two United Kingdom-based defendants, a purported Bitcoin trading company and its principal (collectively, the Defendants). The CFTC alleges that the Defendants perpetrated a wide-ranging fraud involving at least $147 million in Bitcoin from more than 1,000 customers.
Continue Reading CFTC Brings Charges in Fraudulent Bitcoin Trading Scheme

In a letter released to the public on April 10, 2019, New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) denied Bittrex’s two separate applications to engage in a virtual currency business and to engage in money transmission activity in New York state.
Continue Reading DFS Denies Bittrex Applications for New York Virtual Currency and Money Transmitter Licenses

To date, virtual currency exchanges in the United States have structured their operations in an effort to avoid being required to register as an exchange with either the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. While these efforts may be entirely legal, without the regulatory protections of exchange registration, they could create enhanced risks for customers, particularly in the case of a fund’s insolvency or collapse.
Continue Reading Federal Court Lacks Personal Jurisdiction Over Defunct Virtual Currency Exchange

On January 30, 2019, a Florida appellate court reversed the trial court’s dismissal of State v. Espinoza, instead holding that a Bitcoin business was both a money transmitter and a payment instrument seller, subject to Florida’s statutes governing money services businesses.
Continue Reading Florida Court Finds Virtual Currency Subject to Money Service Businesses Law

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.
Continue Reading Alibaba Wins Preliminary Injunction Against Developers of Cryptocurrency “AlibabaCoin” In Trademark Dispute

Hunton Andrews Kurth partner Scott Kimpel, chair of the Firm’s blockchain working group, recently participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Washington Legal Foundation regarding the latest legal issues associated with ICOs and security token offerings.
Continue Reading Initial Coin Offerings: Can Securities Regulators Balance Market Growth and Investor Protection?

As reported on the Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog, in what appears to be a case of first impression, an Ohio trial court ruled in Kimmelman v. Wayne Insurance Group that the crypto-currency, Bitcoin, constitutes personal property in the context of a first-party homeowners’ insurance policy and, therefore, its theft would not be subject to the policy’s $200 sublimit for loss of “money.”
Continue Reading “Crypto-Property:” Ohio Court Says Crypto-Currency is Personal Property Under Homeowners’ Policy