The crypto space has witnessed significant activity over the last year and is expected to continue generating new litigation risks in 2024 and beyond. The volatility of cryptocurrency values, the complex nature of the technology, the lack of regulation, and lack of understanding by regulators all contribute to this trend. Crypto-related actions span a wide spectrum, involving regulatory issues to claims brought by individuals or as class actions.Continue Reading Crypto & Digital Assets
On November 14, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced its enforcement results for the 2023 fiscal year, with case numbers up from fiscal year 2022 and monetary sanctions at the second highest level in the agency’s history, though down significantly from last year’s record highs. In a press release announcing the results, Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal noted that the past year’s cases demonstrate how the agency “work[s] with a sense of urgency, using all the tools in our toolkit.” This post evaluates how the SEC used its enforcement tools in the past year and surveys the enforcement highlights in key substantive areas.Continue Reading SEC Announces FY 2023 Enforcement Results with Second-Highest Penalties on Record
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.Continue Reading FDIC Continues Rulemakings Related to Misrepresentation in Advertising: Digital Asset Businesses Still in the Crosshairs
On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced related enforcement settlements with Bittrex, Inc., a U.S.-based digital asset exchange and hosted wallet services company (the “Company”), to settle violations of U.S. sanctions and the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and related regulations, respectively. The OFAC Settlement, the largest of OFAC’s digital asset-related enforcement actions to date, and the FinCEN Consent Order collectively result in the Company paying a civil penalty of approximately $30 million. Following OFAC’s release of its “Sanctions Compliance Guidance for the Virtual Currency Industry” (which we wrote about here) and recent revelations regarding prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice of digital asset-related U.S. sanctions violations (which we wrote about here), this joint OFAC-FinCEN enforcement action illustrates the U.S. government’s continued focus on the digital asset industry’s compliance with U.S. sanctions and the potentially significant penalties parties can face for U.S. sanctions and BSA violations.
Continue Reading OFAC and FinCEN Announce Joint Enforcement Action Against U.S.-Based Digital Asset Exchange
On July 21, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged Ishan Wahi, a former employee of the digital asset trading platform Coinbase (the “Company”), as well as his brother and friend, with engaging in insider trading ahead of certain of the Company’s digital asset listing announcements (i.e., announcements in which the Company publicly discloses the specific digital assets that it plans to make available for trading on its platform), which allegedly generally increase the value of the relevant digital assets.
Continue Reading SEC and DOJ Charge Employee of Digital Asset Trading Platform and His Associates With Alleged Insider Trading in Digital Assets
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 10, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) jointly adopted proposed amendments to Form PF that would significantly expand reporting by private equity advisers and hedge fund advisers of both their investments and structures (the “Proposal,” available here). The Proposal is part of an ongoing effort to bolster the SEC’s regulatory oversight of private fund advisers and investor protection efforts, while also purportedly enhancing the Financial Stability Oversight Counsel’s (“FSOC”) ability to monitor systematic risk.
Continue Reading Form PF, Take Two: The SEC and CFTC Propose Further Amendments To Reporting Obligations For Private Equity and Hedge Funds
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
The SEC and a consortium of 32 states recently announced a $100 million settlement with BlockFi Lending LLC over its crypto lending product, BlockFi Interest Accounts. The SEC alleged BlockFi had violated the securities laws by failing to register its interest-bearing crypto lending product as a security, failing to register itself as an investment company,…
The path was paved in 2021 for unprecedented tax developments in the coming years for large businesses, especially for multinationals and investment businesses operating across borders.
Continue Reading Taxes: Stepping up Enforcement and Ending the Global “Race to the Bottom”