On December 21, 2022, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation published a notice of proposed rulemaking elaborating on what constitutes false advertising of deposit insurance for purposes of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act.
The last few weeks have seen a significant ramp-up of federal bank regulators’ focus on cryptocurrency companies and their disclosures regarding FDIC deposit insurance, signaling a potential spike in enforcement actions targeted at the crypto sector. …
Continue Reading FDIC Issues Cease and Desist Letters to Companies for Crypto-Related Representations About Deposit Insurance
On August 1, 2022, Robinhood Crypto LLC (“RHC”) entered into a Consent Order with the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) based on “serious deficiencies” related to anti-money laundering (“AML”), cybersecurity, and virtual currency that were identified in DFS’s examination of RHC covering the period from January to September 2019.
Continue Reading DFS Enters Consent Order with Robinhood Crypto for Deficiencies in AML, Cybersecurity, and Virtual Currency Compliance
This month, the sponsors of the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) approved wide-ranging amendments to the UCC (the “2022 UCC Amendments”) to provide workable rules for emerging technologies, such as distributed ledger technology and virtual currency.
Continue Reading UCC Digital Asset Amendments Finalized
On November 8, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated a virtual currency exchange, Chatex, and its infrastructure support providers on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) for their role in facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors.[i] The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also released an updated advisory on ransomware and the use of the financial system to facilitate ransomware payments.[ii] These actions were taken in furtherance of a coordinated “whole-of-government” effort to disrupt criminal ransomware actors and the virtual currency exchanges used to launder ransom payments around the world.
Continue Reading OFAC Ramps up Targeting of Ransomware-linked Actors and FinCEN Updates Ransomware Advisory
On October 15, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued “Sanctions Compliance Guidance for the Virtual Currency Industry” (the “Guidance”). The Guidance follows recent guidance and advisory letters directed to the virtual currency industry relating to the risk of facilitating ransomware payments and is OFAC’s most comprehensive virtual currency-specific advisory to date. In particular, the Guidance directly addresses some simpler interpretive questions, discusses sanctions compliance programs and “best practices,” and provides hints about OFAC’s enforcement priorities going forward. …
Continue Reading OFAC Issues Sanctions Guidance to Virtual Currency Industry
On February 18, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $507,375 settlement with BitPay, Inc. (BitPay), a payment processor for merchants accepting digital currency as payment for goods and services, for 2,102 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs between 2013 and 2018. The settlement highlights that financial service providers facilitating digital currency transactions must not only establish sanctions compliance programs to screen their own customers but also must monitor third-party non-customer transaction information.
Continue Reading OFAC Settles with Digital Currency Payment Processor for Sanctions Violations
On September 15, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease‑and‑desist order against Unikrn, Inc. concerning its 2017 initial coin offering of UnikoinGold . The SEC found that the Unikrn ICO violated the prohibition in Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 against the unregistered public offer or sale of securities. The SEC imposed several remedies, including requiring Unikrn to permanently disable the UnikoinGold token and a civil money penalty of $6.1 million.
Continue Reading SEC Issues Enforcement Action Against Unikrn, Inc. for its ICO, Prompting Rare Public Dissent from Commissioner Hester Peirce
On March 24, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) released its Final Interpretive Guidance on Actual Delivery for Digital Assets (“Final Interpretation”), addressing longstanding questions regarding which digital asset transactions could be deemed “retail commodity transactions” under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”). The Final Interpretation comes two years after the CFTC issued proposed interpretive guidance (“Proposed Interpretation”). …
Continue Reading CFTC Issues Final Interpretive Guidance on Actual Delivery for Digital Assets