New York Attorney General Sues to Shutter Cryptocurrency Trading Firm Coinseed

The Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James (“NYAG”) has filed a lawsuit to shut down technology company Coinseed.  The state has accused the firm of selling unregistered securities in the form of digital tokens and operating as an unregistered broker-dealer while making material misrepresentations about the company, its management team, and fees charged to investors in connection with cryptocurrency trades. Continue Reading

Tokenized Art Legal Issues

The tokenization of physical and digital art has many advantages. Some of the advantages create potential complexities under US law. Each situation is fact specific, but the following is a summary of some of the areas for which careful consideration is needed with tokenized art. This is not a complete list, but provides some of the most common issues that we typically see. These issues can impact the owners/creators of tokenized art as well as the exchanges and platforms that sell them. Continue Reading

How to Successfully Obtain Blockchain Patents

As with other rapidly-evolving technologies, the blockchain space is experiencing a frenzy of patent activity. The data shows that there are 3-4 times as many published applications as there are issued patents for these concepts. This trend strongly suggests that the number of blockchain-related patents will surge in the next couple of years. However, due to recent changes in patent law, it is more important than ever to ensure that you analyze the patentability of blockchain inventions in light of these changes to target inventions likely to result in patents.  Once likely patentable inventions are identified, it is critical to draft patent applications and claims based on knowledge of how the Patent Office has treated prior blockchain patent applications to maximize the likelihood of obtaining commercially meaningful, valid patents.  For more information, view our Flipbook. Continue Reading

Key Insights for Obtaining FinTech Patents

As with other rapidly-evolving technologies, the FinTech space is experiencing a frenzy of patent activity. As its name implies, FinTech is part financial innovation (“fin”) relating to new aspects of finance and finance-related business models, and part technological innovation (“tech”) relating to the application of, and enhancements to, technology that enables the fin-related innovations. Unfortunately, this mixing of innovation often results in difficulties in obtaining patent protection under the USPTO’s ever-evolving tests for patent-eligible subject matter. Many patent applications for fin-related innovations are rejected by the USPTO as being an abstract idea or merely a business method implemented on a computer, both of which are deemed to not constitute patent-ineligible subject matter under the current USPTO guidance. Patent applications that focus on providing specific technical solutions to specific technical problems in the FinTech space often avoid these rejections. However, in some cases, patents that are limited to a specific technical solution can be designed around with an alternative technical solution. And often they do not capture the fin part of FinTech innovation. Continue Reading

FinCEN Announces Intention to Require FBAR Reporting of Crypto Currency

FinCEN has issued a notice that it intends to amend the regulations implementing the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regarding reports of foreign financial accounts (FBAR) to include virtual currency as a type of reportable account under 31 CFR 1010.350. Currently, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) regulations do not define a foreign account holding virtual currency as a type of reportable account. (See 31 CFR 1010.350(c)). As a result, the notice indicates that “at this time, a foreign account holding virtual currency is not reportable on the FBAR (unless it is a reportable account under 31 C.F.R. 1010.350 because it holds reportable assets besides virtual currency).” Continue Reading

Regulatory Approaches to the Tokenisation of Assets

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a report on Regulatory Approaches to the Tokenisation of Assets (Jan. 2021).  The report notes that: “Policy makers in different jurisdictions have approached tokenisation in different ways, either by applying existing financial regulations to tokenised assets; by introducing new tailor-made regulatory frameworks or by adapting existing rules to accommodate the application of DLTs in tokenisation.” Some of the key takeaways from the report are: Continue Reading

Blockchain and EU Competition Law

There are a number of uses of blockchain technology which may give rise to competition concerns. As a distributed ledger where transactions are recorded in real time and are accessible to everyone within that network, blockchain makes at least some transaction information accessible to users within the network. The available information can provide insights on highly sensitive commercial business transactions and/or strategies. Blockchains can also be seen as a decentralized model of data storage including payment transactions, purchase history, corporate accounts, pricing history as well as future changes to pricing. These characteristics can expose users of blockchain technology to competition law concerns, the most obvious of which are detailed in our whitepaper. Continue Reading

Will Blockchain Game Use Drive Greater Overall Blockchain Adoption?

The use of blockchain technology by game companies is nascent but growing. As a transaction based-technology, blockchain is well suited to manage in game economies through tokenized game assets and the use of cryptocurrency for payment. This also provides a benefit to players in that they can truly own their assets, as opposed to just having a terminable license as is the case with most traditional online games. Blockchain and NFTs hold great promise. If your business gets involved with these technologies it is critical to get solid legal advice before you get too far down the road. Continue Reading

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Affirms Authority of a National Bank to Provide Cryptocurrency Custody Services

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) recently signaled its approval for banks to fully wade into the cryptocurrency custodian space.  On in a July 22, 2020 interpretive letter, the OCC concluded that a national bank may provide cryptocurrency custody services on behalf of its customers, including by holding the unique cryptographic keys associated with cryptocurrency, so long as the institution is able to effectively manage the risks and complies with applicable law. Continue Reading

Fans Get Kick Out of FC Barcelona’s Crypto-based Fan Token

As another example of crypto tokens going mainstream, team Barcelona sold 1.2 million euro worth of fan tokens in less than two hours. The 600,000 tokens were sold at a fixed price of 2 euro, and are tradeable on Socios.com and Chiliz.net. The crypto tokens, called $BAR, provide fans various types of engagement with the team. Continue Reading

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