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21 March 202326 minute read

Blockchain and Digital Assets News and Trends - March 2023

This is our third monthly bulletin for 2023, aiming to help companies identify important and significant legal developments governing the use and acceptance of blockchain technology, smart contracts and digital assets.

While the use cases for blockchain technology are vast, this bulletin will be primarily on the use of blockchain and or smart contracts in the financial services sector. With respect to digital assets, we have organized our approach to this topic by discussing it in terms of traditional asset type or function (although the types and functions may overlap), that is, digital assets as:

  • Securities
  • Virtual currencies
  • Commodities
  • Deposits, accounts, intangibles
  • Negotiable instruments
  • Electronic chattel paper
  • Digitized assets

In addition to reporting on the law and regulation governing blockchain, smart contracts and digital assets, this bulletin discusses the legal developments supporting the infrastructure and ecosystems that enable the use and acceptance of these new technologies.


INSIGHTS

Ex-FTX head Bankman-Fried faces more charges, including “strict liability” crime of conspiracy to operate as an unlicensed money transmitter

By David Stier and Emily Honsa Hicks

The implosion of international crypto exchange FTX and the fall of its founder and CEO Samuel Bankman-Fried (SBF) was fast and furious, and in the aftermath, seemingly never-ending criminal charges mount against leadership of the exchange. Eight initial charges were filed against SBF on December 9, 2022, but prosecution continued this month, as four additional criminal charges were announced in a February 23, 2023 superseding indictment. Notably, the new charges included a violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 1960, operating a money transmission business without a license, a charge which we discussed in great detail in last month's insight on Bitzlato, and a bank fraud conspiracy charge. There are a number of interesting threads in the superseding (and original) indictment that could provide insight on the prosecution’s case strategy and the likely areas of attack for the defense. Read more.

New financial regulator guidance puts misuse of FDIC trademarks, false claims of FDIC insurance squarely in play for regulated banks and other third parties

By David Stier, Michael Geller, Chris Steelman and Emily Honsa Hicks

Since Summer 2022, liquidity events have threatened and ultimately forced the bankruptcy and/or fire sale of significant crypto-currency industry players such as Voyager and Celsius. In response to this, on February 23, 2023, the US Prudential Regulators issued a Joint Statement on Liquidity Risks to Banking Organizations Resulting from Crypto-Asset Market Vulnerabilities. Further evidence of the mounting risk came less than a month later when liquidity issues related to the FTX collapse overtook FRB-regulated, California state-chartered commercial bank, Silvergate, which announced on March 9, 2023 that it would enter an orderly liquidation process.

The Joint Statement addresses recent liquidity disrupting and “bank-run” behavior by crypto-asset investors that has resulted in volatility in the cryptocurrency markets. While the Joint Statement does not assert new obligations on banking organizations or insured depository institutions, it reminds banks of existing risk management principles and obligations and makes clear that prohibited misleading statements to consumers or investors about the availability of FDIC insurance could exacerbate any liquidity driven bank run. It also serves as a firm assertion of the nexus between allowable but uninsured bank products and the authority of the Prudential Regulators, and a stark reminder that the FDIC actively monitors the misuse of its trademarks – both its name and logo – and false or misleading claims that an entity or product is FDIC-insured by both regulated institutions and third parties, particularly in the cryptocurrency space.

Discussed here is the emphasis that Prudential Regulators expect banks (particularly insured depository institutions) to incorporate regular monitoring for the misuse of the FDIC logo into their risk management and compliance controls, whether by the bank itself or by non-bank business partners. Below, we provide key takeaways, including steps banks and others should consider for risk-based controls relating to the misuse of FDIC trademarks or claims about FDIC insurance, as well as their own trademarks, across media, especially involving the cryptocurrency space. Read more.

Banking regulators release joint statement on liquidity risks with cryptoassets

By Jeff Hare and Adam Dubin

On February 23, 2023, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a joint statement highlighting key liquidity risks associated with crypto-assets and crypto-asset participants “due to the unpredictability of the scale and timing of deposit inflows and outflows” and reminding banking organizations to apply existing risk management principles to effectively manage those risks. Read more.

SEC’s proposed expansion of Investment Advisers Act custody rule would impose new burdens on advisers and qualified custodians and impact crypto holders

By Patrick Bryan, Margo H.K.Tank and Deborah R. Meshulam

On February 15, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a proposal to enhance the protection of customer assets managed by registered investment advisers.  The SEC is proposing to redesignate the current custody rule, Investment Advisers Act Rule 206(4)-2, as new rule 223-1 and to amend its provisions as well as certain related recordkeeping and reporting obligations.  The SEC’s proposal describes new Rule 223-1 as the safeguarding rule.  If adopted, the proposed rule amendments would have significant impacts on investment advisers and their clients.  Read more.

SDNY holds NBA Top Shots NFTs might be unregistered securities under Howey

By Eric Hall and Michael Fluhr

Federal district court Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York denied a motion to dismiss by defendant Dapper Labs, makers of the wildly popular NBA Top Shots NFT platform, in Friel v. Dapper Labs, Inc. The court found the plaintiffs had plausibly alleged that Top Shots NFTs (called Moments) are unregistered securities within the meaning of SEC v. W.J. Howey Co.  After addressing each step of the Howey test, on February 22, 2023, Judge Marrero reached a conclusion he deemed “a close call” in a “narrow decision.”  Read more.

Understanding Monex: “Actual delivery” in metals commodities and the impact on digital assets and carbon commodities markets

By Sean Newland, Deanna Reitman, Glenn Reitman, Margo Tank and Caryn Schechtman

The four-year legal battle between the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the CFTC) and Monex Deposit Company, Monex Credit Company, and Newport Service Corporation, owner Michael Carabini, and founder Louis Carabini over Monex’s Atlas trading platform has concluded.  In the consent order entered in December in Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Monex Deposit Company, et al., Monex settled the charges pending against it for a total of $38 million in restitution and civil monetary penalties and injunctive measures.  Read more.

 

STATUTORY AND AGENCY DEVELOPMENTS

FEDERAL DEVELOPMENTS

Taxation

Crypto broker rules guidance imminent? Participants in the cryptocurrency and digital asset markets may soon learn the details and effective date of regulations implementing new rules that would require digital asset “brokers” to turn over information on their clients’ transactions to the IRS, including whether staking service providers and miners are excluded from the definition of “broker.” On February 23, according to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs website, White House review of proposed Treasury regulations setting out these new rules had been completed. In defining “broker,” there have been indications that the proposed regulations may exclude crypto miners and stakers from the definition of “brokers” for purposes of these reporting rules, which would be a welcome development for many market participants.

The implementation of the rules was originally January 1, 2023 but was pushed back to after the final rules are released. It is unclear when the proposed regulations will be released, and what their effective date will be.

Commodities

CFTC announces first meeting of newly formed Technology Advisory Committee. On March 1, Commissioner Christy Goldsmith Romero, sponsor of the new Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Technology Advisory Committee, released the agenda for the inaugural meeting of the committee. The TAC will meet March 22 from 12:00 pm to 4:30 pm at CFTC headquarters. TAC will discuss:

  • Ensuring cyber-resilience in financial markets
  • Exploring issued in decentralized finance, including digital identity, privacy, and unhosted wallets, as well as exploits and continuing vulnerabilities in crypto markets
  • Responsible artificial intelligence, including a blueprint for an AI bill of rights.

Commissioner Romero also announced on March 13 the newly constituted membership of TAC. Carole House will serve as TAC’s chair and Ari Redbord will serve as vice chair. Find out more about them here.

Virtual currency

PCAOB warns investors about proof of crypto reserve reports. On March 8, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) Office of the Investor Advocate issued an investor advisory warning investors to “exercise extreme caution” when relying on proof of reserve reports (PoR Reports) that are frequently prepared by third-party firms on behalf of various crypto companies. While directed at investors, the PCAOB’s warning should also be heeded by firms that prepare such reports and crypto entities that provide such reports to their customers. Read more.

FDIC issues letter demanding crypto exchanges cease and desist misleading statements. On February 15, the FDIC announced it issued a letter to CEX.IO Corp, a cryptocurrency exchange, demanding it cease and desist from making false and misleading statements about FDIC deposit insurance and take immediate corrective action to address these false or misleading statements. Additionally, the FDIC directed two websites, Captainaltcoin.com and Banklesstimes.com, to remove similar false and misleading statements about the FDIC-insured status of CEX.IO. The letter alleges that the entities made representations, falsely stating or suggesting that CEX.IO is FDIC–insured or that FDIC insurance will protect customers’ cryptocurrency. 

STATE DEVELOPMENTS

Virtual currency

Colorado banking and financial agencies issues cryptocurrency bulletin. On March 10, the Colorado Division of Banking and Division of Financial Services issued at joint consumer advisory When Cryptocurrency Exchanges Fail Consumers Beware – Scams Abound. The advisory warns about cryptocurrency and exchanges, including explaining that cryptocurrencies are not backed by a government or central bank and, when stored online, they do not receive the same protections as a bank account. The advisory further warned of scammers who, in the wake of crypto exchange failures, tell investors they can help them get a refund of their lost monies.

Utah passes DAO act. On March 9, the Utah legislature enrolled into law the Utah Decentralized Autonomous Organizations Act HB0357. The act is based on the Coalition of Automated Legal Applications (COALA) DAO Model Law and creates a new species of limited liability entity – the limited liability decentralized autonomous organization, or LLD. The LLD is governed by bylaws, not an operating agreement, which may be redacted to preserve anonymity and may provide for different classes of members (token holders with governance rights) and participants (holders without governance rights).


ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AND LITIGATION

FEDERAL

Securities

SEC charges NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce in unlawful crypto promotion. On February 17, the SEC announced charges against Paul Pierce, a former NBA Basketball Player, for making misleading promotional statements and failing to disclose payment received in exchange for marketing EMAX tokens on social media. EMAX tokens are crypto-asset securities offered and sold by EthereumMax. The SEC alleges that Pierce’s conduct violated Section 17(a)(2) of the Securities Act as well as Section(b) of the Securities Act. SEC Chair Gary Gensler stated, “this case is yet another reminder to celebrities: the law requires you to disclose to the public from whom and how much you are getting paid to promote investments.” Pierce agreed to pay a $1.115 million penalty and refrain from promoting crypto securities for three years, without admitting or denying the SEC’s charges.

SEC files emergency action against crypto fraud scheme. On March 6, the SEC announced the filing of an emergency action against Miami investment adviser BKCoin and Principal Kevin Kang for operating a crypto fraud scheme. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted the SEC an appointment of receiver and a freeze on BKCoin’s assets. BKCoin raised $100 million to invest in crypto-assets. However, the SEC alleges BKCoin and Kevin Kang misappropriated funds, committed fraud with falsified documents, and made “Ponzi-like payments to fund investors.” The agency is seeking permanent injunctions, disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty from both defendants.

SEC charges Terraform and CEO Do Kwon with defrauding investors in crypto schemes. On February 16, the SEC announced charges against Singapore-based Terraform Labs PTE Ltd and CEO Do Kown for offering and selling “crypto asset securities in unregistered transactions” and orchestrating a fraudulent scheme that led to the loss of at least $40 billion. Terraform’s algorithmic stablecoin, TerraUSD (UST) was designed to maintain a one-to-one peg to the US dollar. By April 2022, UST had a market capitalization of $17 billion. The SEC alleges Terraform and Kwon misled investors of the stability of UST, which lost most of its value in May 2022. Further, the SEC alleges Terraform and Kwon misled and deceived investors by claiming a popular Korean payment application used the Terra blockchain. Lastly, the SEC alleges Terraform and Kwon violated Section 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933 by offering and selling cryptocurrency to investors seeking to earn a profit without registering with the SEC as required by federal securities laws.

SEC and CFTC charge FTX senior executive with fraud related to digital assets. On February 28, the CFTC and SEC filed fraud charges against Nishad Singh, former FTX executive and director of engineering. The CFTC’s complaint alleges Singh was responsible for FTX’s code that granted Alameda with access to misappropriate FTX customer assets. The complaint charges Singh with personally misappropriating millions of dollars of FTX’s customers assets. Also, Singh continued to fund personal expenditures with customer assets after he knew or should have known the source of funds. Singh has agreed to the entry of a proposed consent order of judgment. The SEC’s complaint alleges that Singh violated the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 through false and misleading statements that FTX was a safe crypto asset trading platform.

DC Court hears oral argument on Grayscale's proposed conversion of bitcoin trust into a spot ETF. On March 7, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard oral arguments in Grayscale Investments, LLC v. SEC, USCA Case No. 22-1142. The case stems from Grayscale Investments LLC’s so far unsuccessful attempt to convert its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) into a spot exchange traded fund (ETF). GBTC is a publicly traded bitcoin fund that allows investors to gain exposure to bitcoin by purchasing a security as opposed to buying bitcoin directly. GBTC assets are stored in offline “cold” storage with an institutional custodian. In 2021, GBTC began trading at a discount in comparison to its assets. The discrepancy, which has substantially increased, stems in part from investors’ inability to redeem their shares for the trust’s underlying bitcoin. Converting GBTC to a spot ETF would eliminate the discount.

In October 2021, NYSE Arca, Inc. filed a proposed rule change to list shares of GBTC as a spot ETF. On June 29, 2022, the SEC rejected the proposed change, finding that NYSE Arca had failed to show it was consistent with the Exchange Act’s requirement that national exchanges “prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices.” Among other things, the SEC found that NYSE Arca had not shown it has an adequate surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated market to prevent manipulation or fraud. The SEC found that NYSE Arca's agreements with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) were inadequate because the CME was not a “market of significant size” in proportion to the proposed ETF’s underlying bitcoin assets.

Grayscale filed an appeal with the DC Circuit on the same day as the SEC’s decision. Grayscale argues that the SEC has previously approved the listing by the Exchange of bitcoin futures-based ETFs on the basis that the Exchange’s arrangements with the CME are sufficient. According to Grayscale, the SEC has not adequately explained why its proposed spot ETF should be treated differently than bitcoin futures ETFs. The DC Circuit expressed skepticism toward the SEC’s position during oral argument. The case’s outcome, however, is far from certain, particularly in light of the doctrine of Chevron deference, which provides agencies such as the SEC a certain degree of latitude to interpretate statutes related to their expertise. Grayscale reportedly expects a final ruling this fall.

Chamber of Digital Commerce files amicus curiae brief in SEC v. Wahi. The SEC has filed a civil insider trading lawsuit against Ishan Wahi, a former Coinbase manager, along with his brother and friend. The SEC alleges that Wahi tipped both individuals to sales of Coinbase digital assets, giving rise to insider trading liability under the Exchange Act. For more information on the Wahi case, see our February issue. The Chamber of Digital Commerce filed its amicus brief recently to argue that the digital assets at issue should not be treated as securities, that the SEC is attempting to engage in “backdoor” rulemaking, and that allowing this lawsuit to proceed would allow the SEC to expand its jurisdictional reach. The amicus brief, which the Chamber describes on its website, mentions that the SEC could have engaged in rulemaking but instead chose to bring this suit. Notably, the Chamber did not take a position on whether the defendants traded material, nonpublic information, choosing instead to focus on why the tokens at issue should not be considered securities.

Commodities

CFTC charges California-based company and Its CEO with fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation of digital asset commodities. On February 16, the CFTC announced charges against Vista Network Technologies (Vista), a California-based company, and its CEO, Armen Temurian for fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation of customers’ digital asset commodities. The complaint alleges the defendants fraudulently solicited over $7 million worth of bitcoin and ether from customers in a Ponzi-like scheme. The CFTC seeks restitution, disgorgement, civil monetary penalties, permanent trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction.

Smart contracts

Forsage founders indicted in $340 million DeFi crypto scheme. On February 22, the US Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury in Oregon charged four founders of Forsage, a purported decentralized finance (DeFi) cryptocurrency investment platform, for their roles in a global Ponzi and pyramid scheme that raised $340 million from victim-investors. The founders of Forsage allegedly touted it as a decentralized matrix project based on network marketing and smart contracts. But as soon as an investor invested in Forsage by purchasing a “slot” in a Forsage smart contract, the smart contract automatically diverted those funds to earlier Forsage investors. This case follows a similar case brought by the SEC against Forsage and its operators. For more information, see our August 2022 issue.

Virtual currency

Operators and attorney of global AirBit Club Ponzi scheme plead guilty. On March 8, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the guilty pleas of Pablo Renato Rodriguez, Gutemberg Dos Santos, Scott Hughes, Cecilia Millan, Karina Chairez, and Jackie Aguilar for their roles in an internationally coordinated fraud and money laundering ring that deceived individuals into investing in AirBit Club, a purported cryptocurrency mining and trading company. As part of their guilty pleas, the defendants collectively have been ordered to forfeit the fraudulent proceeds of AirBit Club, which include seized or restrained assets consisting of US currency, bitcoin, and real estate currently valued at approximately $100 million. For additional information on AirBit Club, see our September 2022 issue.

STATE

Money transmission

Three individuals and a business indicted for operating unlicensed cryptocurrency kiosks in Ohio. On March 2, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor announced that an Ohio grand jury has returned an indictment charging S and P Solutions d/b/a Bitcoin of America (BOA), Sonny Meraban, 45, Reza Mehraban, 75, and William Suriano, 69, on several charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, and license requirement violation for owning and operating cryptocurrency kiosks in northeast Ohio from August 2002 to February 2023. Among other things, the investigation revealed that the individuals and BOA were operating the cryptocurrency kiosks without a money transmission license and that they falsely represented their money transferring capabilities to Ohio regulators in order to avoid detection. More than 50 bitcoin ATMs were confiscated.

Unregistered crypto exchanges

New York Attorney General continues efforts to police cryptocurrency markets with new lawsuit against CoinEx. The New York Attorney General (NYAG) announced on February 22 it brought a lawsuit against cryptocurrency platform CoinEx for allegedly failing to register as a securities and commodities broker-dealer and for falsely representing itself as a crypto exchange. CoinEx is a Hong Kong-based virtual currency exchange platform that allows users to buy and sell virtual currencies, crypto options, and other crypto services and products, including staking services. The NYAG’s lawsuit includes claims under the Martin Act, New York’s so-called blue sky anti-fraud law, Article 23-A of the General Business Law, as well as Section 63(12) of the Executive Law, which prohibits repeated and persistent fraud or illegality in the conduct of a business. As we have previously noted, New York courts have held that virtual currencies fall within the scope of the Martin Act’s definition of a “commodity.”

The NYAG alleged that CoinEx violated these laws by acting as an unregistered securities and/or commodities broker-dealer, and also unlawfully misrepresented itself as a cryptocurrency exchange, despite not being registered as an exchange with the SEC, CFTC, or otherwise authorized to operate an exchange under New York law. The NYAG stated that its investigation included (i) the creation of a CoinEx account and buying and selling cryptocurrencies with a New York based IP address, for which CoinEx charged fees, and (ii) ongoing tracking of whether CoinEx continued to offer services to New York based IP addresses.

The NYAG further noted that CoinEx failed to respond to a subpoena seeking testimony about its digital asset trading activities. Under Section 353 of the General Business Law, the failure to respond to a Martin Act subpoena is “prima facie proof” that the respondent is engaged in fraudulent practices and may serve as the basis for the entry of a permanent injunction. Accordingly, the NYAG is seeking permanent injunctive relief to prohibit CoinEx from offering its services to New Yorkers, as well as an accounting, disgorgement, and restitution with respect to all of the revenues obtained from allegedly illegal conduct in New York.

New York Attorney General files new lawsuit against KuCoin exchange which alleges that virtual currency is a security and a commodity. On March 9, the NYAG announced the filing of a lawsuit against KuCoin for failing to register as a securities and commodities broker-dealer and falsely representing itself as an exchange. The NYAG seeks a preliminary injunction against KuCoin, arguing that KuCoin permits investors on its platform to buy and sell popular virtual currencies such as Ethereum, Luna, and TerraUSD (UST), and those virtual currencies are both commodities and securities.

The AG argues in her brief that ETH satisfies New York’s Waldstein test for securities for several reasons, including:

  • An initial coin offering (ICO) was used to raise funds to develop the Ethereum network, as set forth in the ICO Documents. Vitalik Buterin and the Ethereum Foundation retain large positions of Ethereum that they continue to use to fund Ethereum's development. Ethereum continues to be referred to as an “investment” on the Ethereum Foundation’s website. Ethereum is also used to generate staking rewards for investors. Furthermore, Ethereum was used to promote the Ethereum enterprise because Ethereum is needed to process any transactions on the Ethereum network.

The AG's brief further argues that Ethereum, Luna, and UST are securities under the federal Howey test because:

  • Investors in Ethereum, Luna, and UST are in a common enterprise with each cryptocurrency’s management team because a portion of available tokens was reserved for the tokens’ respective founders, management teams, and developers, thereby tying the fortunes of the token holder to the fortunes of management, and
  • Ethereum, Luna, and UST’s management teams promoted their respective cryptocurrencies as profit opportunities that were contingent on the growth of their respective networks, which would occur in substantial part because of work performed by its founders, developers, and managers. The Ethereum website referred to ETH as a “store of value” and an “investment.” Furthermore, the founders, developers, and management drove the transition to a proof-of-stake protocol, which presented users with the opportunity to generate profits through holding Ethereum and staking.

NFTs

Class action filed against DraftKings for selling NFTs as unregistered securities. The case of Dufoe v. DraftKings Inc. et al, Case 1:23-cv-10524 was filed on March 9 in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. This class action complaint asserts violations of federal securities laws, including sale of unregistered securities, control person liability, contracts with an unregistered exchange, and acting as a broker-dealer without registration, and state law analogues. The plaintiffs allege that DraftKings illegally sold unregistered securities when it released NFTs through its own marketplace. The complaint argues that the NFTs are securities under the Howey test for reasons including:

  • The NFTS were sold pursuant to terms of service which distinguished the NFTs from the imagery they present. NFT purchasers did not get a commercial license to the underlying video clips or images. Most of the NFTs had no utility.
  • DraftKings fully controls the marketplace for the NFTs. DraftKings could control whether and which NFTs could be moved off the DraftKings marketplace to a self-custody wallet. In this way, DraftKings restricted secondary sales to its own marketplace. “If DraftKings or DK Marketplace cease to exist, the Marketplace NFTs will be worthless." Additionally, even when sold outside of the DraftKings marketplace, “DraftKings still collects fees through smart contracts."
  • DraftKings NFTs are a common enterprise because the DraftKings shares some of the proceeds of the sale of the NFTs on its primary and secondary markets, and investors’ funds are pooled to support development and hype for the DraftKings ecosystem.

SPOTLIGHT ON INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

Canadian securities commission publish notice on changes in practice regarding crypto asset trading platforms (CTPs). On February 22, the Ontario Securities Commission published CSA Staff Notice 21-332 Crypto Asset Trading Platforms: Pre-Registration Undertakings – Changes to Enhance Canadian Investor Protection. The notice requires CTPs to file a pre-registration undertaking (PRU) with the Commission and provides additional guidance to CTPS including listing expectations for unregistered CTPs to operate in Canada while pursuing applications for registration.

Hong Kong securities regulator issues consultation on requirements for operators of virtual asset trading platforms. On February 20, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission issued a consultation seeking public comment on a proposed new licensing regime to take effect on June 1 requiring licensure for all "centralised virtual asset trading platforms carrying on business in Hong Kong or actively marketing to Hong Kong investors." Interested parties are invited to submit their comments to the SFC on or before 31 March 2023 via the SFC website (www.sfc.hk), by email to VATP-consultation@sfc.hk, by post or by fax to (852) 2293 4004.

Hungary – ChatGPT and competition law: Initial thoughts and questions. Probably even the chatbot ChatGPT itself would be “surprised” to see how many new articles, essays, blogposts, personal posts and videos discuss issues around AI, and specifically, generative AI. In this blogpost we’re not going to try to fully explore the various legal aspects of AI. We want to focus on one narrow intersection: between generative AI tools competition law. We’ll look at – or rather ask some initial questions – how each main area of competition law could be relevant to the business conduct of ChatGPT (or rather OpenAI Inc., the company behind the chatbot) and similar generative AI tools. Read more.

United Kingdom – developers of bitcoin may owe fiduciary duties after all. In Tulip Trading Ltd v Van Der Laan and ors [2023] EWCA Civ 83 the Court of Appeal unanimously overturned the High Court’s first instance decision and determined that there is a serious issue to be tried on the question of whether developers owe fiduciary duties to bitcoin owners. Read more.

RECENT EVENTS

DLA is proud to announce it advised the Dubai VARA on the world’s first virtual assets specific regulatory framework.

DLA Piper ranked in Chambers FinTech Guide 2023. DLA Piper is pleased to announce that the firm's FinTech Legal: Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies practice has been ranked nationwide by the prestigious legal publisher Chambers and Partners. Margo Tank and Mark Radcliffe each received individual rankings. Overall, the firm received 21 practice rankings and 16 individual lawyer rankings in the Chambers FinTech 2023 edition.

UPCOMING EVENTS

DLA Piper attorneys will be presenting at the following events:

  • #NFTNYC2023, April 12-14, 2023, at Times Square and Hudson Yards, with Mark Radcliffe, Michael Fluhr, Christoph Engelmann and Dr. Nico Brunotte
PUBLICATIONS

Cryptocurrency and Digital Asset Regulation, published by the American Bar Association and co-edited by Deborah Meshulam and Michael Fluhr, includes chapters by Meshulam and Fluhr and by Margo H.K. Tank and Andrew Grant.

Read

Takeaways from the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank receiverships 

10 key points coming out of the stabilisation of Silicon Valley Bank UK Limited 

Transferring digital assets under UCC Article 8

Creating an insider trading policy for your company’s digital assets: why to write one and what to consider

Contacts

Learn more about our Blockchain and Digital Assets practice by contacting any of our editors:

Margo H.K. Tank
Mark Radcliffe
Liz Caires
Martin Bartlam
Guy E. Flynn

Contributors to this issue

Patrick Bryan

Sean Croft

Adam Dubin

Michael Fluhr

Michael Geller

Tom Geraghty

Eric Hall

Jeff Hare

Emily Honsa Hicks

Christina Houston

Kali McGuire

Avi Mediratta

Deborah Meshulam

Danny Mosayov

Sean Newland

Vanessa Offutt

Deanna Reitman

Glenn Reitman

Caryn Schechtman

Noah Schottenstein

Chris Steelman

David Stier

Scott R. Wilson

The editors send their thanks and appreciation to Marc Aronson and Raymond Janicko for their contributions to this and prior issues.

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