Global Fintech & Digital Assets Blog

Tag Archives: SEC

Responsible Financial Innovation Act Offers Clarity, Safeguards for Digital Assets — SEC and Securities

The RFIA would enact a rebuttable presumption that an ancillary asset in connection with an investment contract is a commodity. By Marlon Q. Paz, Stephen P. Wink, Jenny Cieplak, and Deric Behar Latham & Watkins presents a blog series on the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, which was introduced in the US Senate on June 10, 2022, … Continue Reading

Responsible Financial Innovation Act Offers Clarity, Safeguards for Digital Assets

The RFIA is the most wide-ranging crypto bill yet. Latham & Watkins presents a blog series on the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, which was introduced in the US Senate on June 10, 2022, to create a framework for digital assets, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology.  On June 10, 2022, US Senators Cynthia Lummis from the Senate … Continue Reading

SEC Proposes to Expand the Definition of an “Exchange”

The proposal would require certain systems and platforms currently not subject to any registration requirements to register as broker-dealers and ATSs. By Stephen P. Wink, Marlon Q. Paz, Naim Culhaci, and Deric Behar On January 26, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a set of proposed amendments (Proposal) regarding the regulation of alternative … Continue Reading

The Limits of Applying Reves v. Ernst & Young to DeFi and the Perils of Regulating Web3 by Enforcement

The SEC’s reliance on a nebulous US Supreme Court decision raises important questions for the future of decentralized finance. By Benjamin Naftalis, Douglas K. Yatter, and Peter E. Davis Reves v. Ernst & Young,[1] a 30-year-old US Supreme Court decision on farmers’ co-ops, is garnering attention in the Web3[2] world, specifically in the context of … Continue Reading

2021 Digital Asset Regulatory Lookback (US Edition)

Popular and institutional interest in digital assets, decentralized applications, NFTs, and blockchain technology skyrocketed, and regulators sprinted to catch up. By Todd Beauchamp, Yvette D. Valdez, Stephen P. Wink , Adam Bruce Fovent, Adam Zuckerman, and Deric Behar For the digital asset markets, 2021 was a banner year. Among the milestones: •  Bitcoin prices hit … Continue Reading

The Token Safe Harbor Lands on Capitol Hill

The Clarity for Digital Tokens Act of 2021 would give token issuers the guardrails they need to innovate with far less regulatory anxiety. By Stephen P. Wink and Deric Behar US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Hester Peirce has always been something of a maverick. She has been a lone dissenting voice on the … Continue Reading

New SEC Chairman Gives His First Speech on Crypto

Gary Gensler asserts the SEC’s broad powers over digital assets, and puts consumer protection at the forefront. By Stephen P. Wink, Adam Zuckerman, and Deric Behar On August 3, 2021, Gary Gensler, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), gave a speech on the digital asset industry. The speech offered some indication of … Continue Reading

The Return of the Token Safe Harbor

SEC Commissioner Peirce has revived and refreshed her proposed three-year safe harbor for qualifying token projects, but some unresolved ambiguities remain. By Miles P. Jennings, Stephen P. Wink, Naim Culhaci, and Deric Behar US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Hester Peirce, a longtime and vocal advocate for innovation in financial services, has not shied … Continue Reading

NFTs: But Is It Art (or a Security)?

As the market for NFTs heats up, market participants should remain mindful of the regulatory implications of complex schemes. By Stephen P. Wink, Miles P. Jennings, Shaun Musuka, and Deric Behar As the current crypto boom has progressed, it seemed Decentralized Finance (DeFi) had cemented its position as the dominant new narrative of this cycle. … Continue Reading

2020 Digital Asset Regulatory Lookback (US Edition)

Regulators once again offered piecemeal guidance, while focusing on risks and enforcement. Meanwhile, innovation and institutional adoption took off. By Stephen P. Wink, Todd Beauchamp, Yvette D. Valdez, Eric S. Volkman, Adam Bruce Fovent, and Deric Behar Last year, Latham & Watkins sounded a hopeful note that 2020 would provide a clearer vision than 2019 … Continue Reading

SEC Issues Guidance for Broker-Dealer Custody of Digital Assets

In a year-end change of course, the SEC identified the minimum steps that broker-dealers must take when acting as custodians of digital asset securities. By Stephen P. Wink, Naim Culhaci, Shaun Musuka, and Deric Behar On December 23, 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) staff issued a statement (Custody of Digital Asset Securities … Continue Reading

A VCOIN for Your Thoughts: Ethereum-Based Token Wins SEC No-Action Relief

The no-action letter is the first to expressly permit token transfer off-platform to non-users and conversion to fiat currency by token holders. By Stephen P. Wink, Shaun Musuka, and Deric Behar As crypto prices surge, we find ourselves in the midst of another crypto wave. Given the unrelenting flow of news that accompanies such periods, … Continue Reading

Settlement of Digital Asset Trading Just Got Easier

SEC relief streamlines noncustodial settlement of digital asset trades, but broker-dealer custody is still off-limits. By Stephen P. Wink, Naim Culhaci, and Deric Behar On September 25, 2020, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a no-action letter (the Letter) granting more leeway to registered alternative trading systems (ATSs) that settle trades involving digital … Continue Reading

From Safe Deposit Boxes to Cold Wallets, Bank Custody Evolves

The OCC greenlights bank custody of cryptoassets, opening a significant door to mainstream adoption and innovation. By Alan W. Avery, Todd Beauchamp, Yvette D. Valdez, Pia Naib, Loyal T. Horsley, Charles Weinstein, and Deric Behar On July 22, 2020, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued Interpretive Letter #1170 (the Letter), … Continue Reading

SEC Greenlights Investment Fund Delivered in Security Tokens

The milestone fund structure portends a reduced role for broker-dealers, who may be sidelined by innovators unwilling to wait for regulators. By Stephen P. Wink and Deric Behar On July 6, 2020, asset management firm Arca announced that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granted it approval under the Investment Company Act of 1940 … Continue Reading

Telegram: Court Halts Grams Delivery

SEC’s motion for a preliminary injunction is granted, prohibiting delivery of Telegram tokens to purchasers. By Stephen P. Wink, Shaun Musuka, Carolina Bernal and Deric Behar On March 24, the Court in the Southern District of New York sided with the SEC and granted an injunction prohibiting Telegram Group Inc. and TON Issuer Inc. (together, Telegram) from delivering … Continue Reading

Taking the Scarlet Out of the Letters I-C-O

SEC Commissioner Peirce has proposed a three-year safe harbor for qualifying token projects, but regulatory clarity remains elusive. By Stephen P. Wink, Carolina Bernal, Shaun Musuka, and Deric Behar SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce has been a perennial advocate of innovation in the financial services and digital asset space. Continuing that tradition, she unveiled a Token … Continue Reading

Digital Asset Regulation: Howey Evolves & The Pursuit of Sufficient Decentralization

In two recent articles, Latham & Watkins lawyers examine the SEC’s guidance on the application of securities regulations to digital assets and the questions that remain unanswered. By Stephen P. Wink, Witold Balaban, John J. Sikora, Miles P. Jennings, Emanuel V. Francone, Cameron R. Kates, and Shaun Musuka Digital Asset Regulation: Howey Evolves In this … Continue Reading

The SEC Greenlights a Blockchain Settlement Service for Public Shares

The US agency has used a no-action letter to enable a sandbox-like approach to blockchain-based trade settlements. By Stephen P. Wink, Cameron R. Kates, Shaun Musuka, and Deric Behar In what may be the first regulator-approved application of blockchain technology for the settlement of US equities trades, the Division of Trading and Markets of the … Continue Reading

The SEC Continues Its Enforcement Streak Against Unregistered Token Offerings

As the agency pursues and prevents offerings of tokens it deems unregistered securities, further issues emerge. By John J. Sikora Jr., Stephen P. Wink, Douglas K. Yatter, Cameron R. Kates, Shaun Musuka, and Deric Behar The recent wave of US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions relating to initial coin offerings (ICOs) continues with … Continue Reading

The Yellow Brick Road for Consumer Tokens: The Path to SEC and CFTC Compliance (an Update)

Latham & Watkins provides an in-depth look at the intersection of CFTC and SEC regulatory jurisdiction in the crypto context. By David L. Concannon, Yvette D. Valdez, and Stephen P. Wink, with Paul M. Dudek and Miles P. Jennings With the rapid growth in the development of blockchain technology, virtual currencies, and token sales (sometimes … Continue Reading

Harbor Finds Calmer FINRA Waters Outside the Custody Storm

In line with its previous guidance, FINRA has granted broker-dealer (but not custodian) status to a digital asset platform. By Stephen P. Wink, Cameron R. Kates, Shaun Musuka, and Deric Behar In a follow-up to the July 2019 SEC and FINRA joint staff statement (Joint Statement) clarifying the regulators’ position on the custody of digital … Continue Reading

What the SEC’s Lawsuit Against Kik Teaches Us About Token Presale Agreements

Latham & Watkins lawyers provide an in-depth look at recent issues impacting the use of token presale agreements. By Stephen P. Wink, Miles P. Jennings, and Shaun Musuka Token presale agreements are a popular type of financing instrument among startups in the blockchain space. In this article, originally published by Bloomberg Law, Latham & Watkins … Continue Reading
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