New Effort to Exempt Crypto Currency from Certain SEC, Tax and Other Regulatory Burdens

A new bill, the Token Taxonomy Act was introduced to congress to amend the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to exclude digital tokens from the definition of a security, to direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to enact certain regulatory changes regarding digital units secured through public key cryptography, to adjust taxation of virtual currencies held in individual retirement accounts, to create a tax exemption for exchanges of one virtual currency for another, to create a de minimis exemption from taxation for gains realized from the sale or exchange of virtual currency for other than cash, and for other purposes. Continue Reading

Blockchain Games and Collectibles – Patents and Other Legal Issues

The use of blockchain (or distributed ledger) technology for games (a.k.a blockchain games) and token-based digital collectibles is on the rise. The overnight popularity of CryptoKitties was as significant to raising the awareness of digital collectibles as Pokémon Go was to location-based AR games. However, the ecosystem extends well beyond CryptoKitties, and is growing rapidly. The ecosystem includes cross-platform crypto currency and tokens, digital asset marketplaces, digital collectibles, decentralized virtual worlds and more. A significant amount of investment is going into this space. Blockchain gaming startup Forte has announced a deal with Ripple’s Xpring crypto currency platform to invest $100 million in game developers who make games based on blockchain technology. While the opportunities in this space are real, there are a number of legal issues that can arise depending on how a company implements its offerings. Continue Reading

Not Every (Open Source) Cloud Has a Silver Lining

This article was originally published on Law360 on March 1, 2019.

The use of open source with cloud-based deployments has become more complicated. Until recently, the OSS license issues with cloud deployments have been fairly straight forward. It is well known that certain OSS licenses have some significant legal implications (detailed below) but that these implications are triggered when software programs that use OSS are distributed. Due to the fact that with most cloud-based deployments the software is not distributed, many developers are lulled into a false sense of security that there are no OSS implications with such deployments. The reality is there are a growing number of OSS licenses that have significant legal implications, even when the OSS is used in a cloud-based deployment. This article will address some of the relevant licenses and their legal implications. Continue Reading

HIMMS19 Conference – Blockchain Symposium Recap

The first day of the HIMSS19 conference featured a day long blockchain symposium focusing on “How Blockchain Technology Brings Value to Healthcare.” The room was packed.

The morning presentations included an overview of blockchain and distributed ledger technology, including the strengths and limitations of this emerging technology as applied to healthcare. David Houlding, Principal Healthcare Lead for Microsoft Corporation sorted through the reality and the hype. On the strengths, he highlighted the data integrity, transparency, decentralization, resilience, and anti-fraud aspects of the technology. In the short term, he indicated that applications where blockchain can reduce costs (e.g., provider directories, provider credentialing, and drug supply chains) will be first adopted, followed by the more complex applications that improve patient outcomes, engage patients and enhance their experiences, and finally those that enhance healthcare professional experiences. He stressed that one of the most difficult challenges is building the consortium trust among the relevant network of healthcare organizations. He also noted that blockchain will not replace, but rather co-exist with enterprise systems, where it makes business sense. Continue Reading

HIMSS19 Kicks-Off Addressing Leading Topics in Healthcare Information Technology

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) kicked-off its annual global conference this week in Orlando, Florida, addressing leading topics in healthcare information technology. Over 45,000 healthcare and information technology professionals and 1,300+ vendors are expected to attend the week long event.   Continue Reading

How Blockchain Technology Brings Value to Healthcare

Blockchain applications for healthcare have garnered significant attention recently. For example, as we recently blogged, five major healthcare companies – Humana, MultiPlan, Optum, Quest Diagnostics, and UnitedHealthcare – formed the Synaptic Health Alliance (the “Alliance”) to explore how blockchain technology could resolve current healthcare issues. Continue Reading

The Synaptic Health Alliance: A Look at how Blockchain Technology Could Improve Provider Data Quality

In 2018, five major healthcare companies – Humana, MultiPlan, Optum, Quest Diagnostics, and UnitedHealthcare – formed the Synaptic Health Alliance (the “Alliance”) to explore how blockchain technology could resolve current healthcare issues. The Alliance launched its first pilot program in April 2018 to focus on specific ways that “blockchain technology can help ensure the most current information about healthcare providers is available in the provider directories maintained by health insurers.”[1] Aetna and Ascension joined the Alliance in December 2018, thus adding additional resources and unique perspectives to the effort of streamlining provider data management.[2] Continue Reading

Comment Deadline Extended: Export Controls on Emerging Technologies

*This is an updated version of the Global Trade Law Blog’s December 10th post .

Key Takeaways:

  • Emerging technology sectors are being reviewed now for new export controls that could take effect in 2019 (list below).
  • You may submit comments on the criteria the U.S. government will use to determine what technologies are subject to export controls.
  • The deadline for comments has been extended to January 10, 2019.
  • We can help.

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Security Tokens — A Superior Platform for Securities Holding and Trading

The use of digital securities or security tokens has coincided with the explosion of crypto-currencies and efforts to establish Internet-traded coins or tokens with utility as a form of currency. Lost amidst the enthusiasm over the revolutionary implications of crypto-currencies is the simple fact that security tokens which use block-chain technology and smart contracts have significant advantages over traditional platforms for issuing, holding and trading securities. Continue Reading

Smart Contract Developers – Beware and Lawyer Up!

Smart contracts, also referred to as chaincode in the Hyperledger world, are one of the most powerful aspects of blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). This “self-executing” code can receive various inputs and, based on “if-then” logic encoded therein, can take various actions and update the ledger state.

Based on recent actions by U.S. regulators, smart contract developers need to be aware of potential liabilities that they may face (beyond the usual issues with software development). Continue Reading

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