FIT21 would provide regulatory certainty for the US digital asset ecosystem, balancing support for innovation with consumer protection.

By Yvette D. ValdezStephen P. WinkAdam Fovent, and Deric Behar

On May 22, 2024, the US House of Representatives (the House) passed H.R. 4763, the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act (FIT21), with a good measure of bipartisan support: 279 votes in favor (208 Republicans and 71 Democrats) and 136 votes opposing (three Republicans

The bipartisan bill seeks to foster innovation and promote US dollar dominance while protecting consumers and mitigating illicit finance risks.

By Jenny Cieplak, Arthur LongYvette D. ValdezStephen P. WinkAdam Fovent, and Deric Behar

On April 17, 2024, US Senators Cynthia Lummis from the Senate Banking Committee and Kirsten Gillibrand from the Senate Agriculture Committee introduced proposed legislation to create a US regulatory framework for stablecoins. The bipartisan Lummis-Gillibrand Payment Stablecoin Act (the Bill) seeks to promote responsible innovation and preserve US dollar dominance, while protecting consumers and digital asset market participants.

As federal regulation remains patchy, firms may want to consider a New York state charter as a potential avenue to expand digital asset offerings in a compliant manner.

By Arthur S. Long, Barrie VanBrackle, Stephen P. Wink, and Deric Behar

On March 22, 2024, WisdomTree, Inc., a global asset management firm, announced that the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) granted a New York limited purpose trust company charter to its subsidiary WisdomTree Digital Trust Company

The legislation allows decentralized autonomous organizations to gain legal entity status and operate within the bounds of applicable law.

By Jenny Cieplak, Stephen P. Wink, Daphne Lambadariou, and Deric Behar

On March 7, 2024, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed into law a new legal framework for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), allowing them to be recognized as “decentralized unincorporated nonprofit associations” (DUNAs). The Wyoming Decentralized Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act (the Act) was adopted with bipartisan support, reflecting Wyoming’s

The SEC’s ambiguous rule could have a chilling effect both on decentralized finance and on the provision of liquidity to centralized crypto exchanges.

By Jenny Cieplak, Marlon Q. Paz, Stephen P. Wink, and Naim Culhaci

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a new rule on February 6, 2024, further defining the phrase “as part of a regular business” — which is an integral part of what it means to be a “dealer” under securities laws.

The

The initiative covers a wide array of insights and guidance for the blockchain ecosystem, while a Latham-led working group explores the convergence of blockchain and AI.

By Latham & Watkins’ Fintech Team

Latham & Watkins collaborated with Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) and industry leaders to release the Global Standards Mapping Initiative (GSMI) 4.0. GSMI 4.0 is the most comprehensive effort to map and analyze the blockchain and digital assets landscape across key areas. It builds on previous releases since 2020 by mapping, cataloging, and analyzing data to provide a holistic view of the blockchain and digital assets industry’s global activity.

An appeals court panel rules that the SEC rejection of a proposed spot bitcoin ETP was arbitrary and capricious, opening the door for the potential launch of numerous ETPs in the near future.

By Jack BarberAaron Gilbride, Marlon Paz, Stephen P. Wink, and Deric Behar

On August 29, 2023, a three-judge panel on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Grayscale Investments, LLC On Petition for Review of an Order of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Grayscale proposed to the SEC in October 2021 that Grayscale would convert its Bitcoin Trust into an exchange traded product (ETP) based on the spot bitcoin market (rather than bitcoin futures). As ETPs are traded on stock exchanges, and investors in the ETP would not need to buy the digital asset directly, an ETP could potentially accelerate retail and institutional adoption.

The SEC rejected Grayscale’s proposal in June 2022 because it asserted that the ETP failed to meet consumer protection requirements, including measures “designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.” Grayscale subsequently sued the SEC under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, petitioning the Court of Appeals to review the SEC’s denial. In its decision, the Court of Appeals panel vacated the SEC’s denial.

A federal court’s dismissal of claims against a decentralized cryptocurrency platform and its investors for the actions of scam token issuers is a case of first impression with wider significance.

By Jenny Cieplak, Benjamin A. Naftalis, Stephen P. Wink, Douglas K. Yatter, Gregory Mortenson, and Deric Behar

On August 29, 2023, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against Uniswap Labs and its CEO, foundation, and three venture capital backers[1] (the Defendants) brought by plaintiffs who sought damages from alleged exposure to scam tokens that originated with anonymous third-party token issuers on the company’s decentralized cryptocurrency trading protocol.

In its first enforcement action involving NFTs, the SEC focused on issuer marketing that promised outsized returns on investment and platform building.

By Ghaith Mahmood, Nima H. Mohebbi, Stephen P. Wink, Douglas K. Yatter, Adam Zuckerman, and Deric Behar

On August 28, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a cease-and-desist order (the Order) against a Los Angeles media and entertainment company (the Company) for an unregistered securities offering relating to its sale of $29.9 million worth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs)[1]. The company agreed to a settlement that includes disgorging $5 million, paying another $1 million in fees and penalties, and ceasing and desisting from violating the Securities Act of 1933. Notably, the settlement does not include fraud charges.

The viability of DAO structures draws attention after a judge declares that a decentralized autonomous organization is a “person” under the law.

By Nima H. Mohebbi, Yvette D. ValdezStephen P. WinkDouglas K. Yatter, Peter Trombly*, Adam Zuckerman, and Deric Behar

On June 8, 2023, the US District Court for the Northern District of California granted the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) a default judgment against Ooki DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that the CFTC charged in September 2022 with three violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).