The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action last Monday, November 8, 2021, and sanctioned a Latvia-based exchange, Chatex, its associated support network, and two ransomware operators for facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors. In total, OFAC designated Chatex and 57 cryptocurrency addresses (associated with digital wallets) as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). OFAC took this action pursuant to Executive Order 13694, issued in 2015, which provides broad sanctions authority to address the national security threat posed by malicious cyber-actors outside the United States.
New York’s chief law enforcement agency recently squandered an opportunity to bring much needed guidance to the digital assets space. On October 18, the Office of New York Attorney General Letitia James (“NYAG”) issued a press release warning New York businesses offering interest-bearing accounts to customers who deposit virtual currency with them without having registered under General Business Law § 352, et seq. (the “Martin Act”) that they are breaking the law.
The Department of Justice is aggressively scrutinizing participants in the cryptocurrency markets—including “financial institutions working with cryptocurrency”—to thwart the use of the technology as a vehicle for money laundering and other illegal activity.
Tokenization limits the exposure of sensitive information and makes digital transactions more secure. Whether people realize it or not, millions of Americans already use tokenization technology on a daily basis. Recent developments in blockchain systems and decentralized finance create new uses for tokenization, raising legal questions as to how existing regulatory frameworks will apply or adapt.
Last week, Coinbase Global Inc. (“Coinbase”) headed off confrontation with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) by announcing it was shelving a much ballyhooed digital asset lending product, Lend. The announcement came two weeks after Coinbase revealed that it had received a Wells notice from the SEC warning the company of its plans to sue over Coinbase’s planned October Lend launch.
At least three different types of marketplaces facilitate the sale and/or resale of NFTs. These include open marketplaces, curated marketplaces and proprietary marketplaces. Other variations do exist, however, and it is likely that other alternatives will be developed. In the attached article, we examine some of the differences between these types of marketplaces and business models, highlight some of the different license terms of these marketplaces and discuss why IP owners who license their IP for NFTs often are best served by developing their own licenses to be used in connection with sale of their NFTs.
Within the blockchain space, one of the fastest-growing areas is NFTs. Within the games space, esports is growing rapidly. So naturally the combination of NFTs and esports should have tremendous potential. This article will explore some opportunities at the intersection of these trends and some of the potential legal issues that might arise. Continue Reading
It is called the Cowboy state for a reason. With varied terrain and a hearty population Wyoming has long been a haven for independent thinkers and doers – pioneers. The Wyoming legislature recently underscored that truth with the first state law addressing governance issues for decentralized autonomous organizations or “DAO(s).” We are not talking self-driving vehicles here. Those will not work on Teton mountain road switch backs. This is all about future vision of decentralized digital finance. A new gold rush for the west for those states who embrace it and Wyoming is doing just that. This March it passed senate bill SF0038 which provides for additional protections similar to those offered to members of limited liability companies for members of a DAO. Continue Reading
Smart contracts are often mentioned in blockchain-themed patent applications and recited in claims. However, Examiners without a thorough understanding of this concept or unfamiliar with blockchain technology often equate smart contracts with legal or commercial contracts stored on blockchains. As a result, the Examiners may find claims directed to merely applying the blockchain technology to execute legal or commercial contracts, for example, as part of a commerce system, like hedging. See, e.g., Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S.Ct. at 2356 (citing Bilski v. Kappas, 561, U.S. 593, 611 (2010)).
Everything is being tokenized these days, including art, games, collectibles and much more. The record prices being fetched have created an NFT frenzy. This distribution model has created a new channel for monetization of creative IP. Given some of the unique aspects of NFTs, IP owners need to rethink their IP protection and licensing strategies. IP protection strategies should include specific protection relating to NFTs. Due to some of the unique aspects of NFTs, various new considerations need to be addressed when licensing IP. NFT creators need to be mindful of potential infringement issues when using third party IP and should also consider IP protection for their original creations.
To learn more about this topic, read our whitepaper: NFTs and Intellectual Property: What IP Owners and NFT Creators Need to Know