Global Fintech & Payments Blog

Tag Archives: Digital Assets

BIS Issues Consultation on Stablecoin Regulation

The global central bank cooperative body envisions stablecoins within the context of international standards for payment, clearing, and settlement systems. By Alan W. Avery, Stuart Davis, Simon Hawkins, Stephen P. Wink, Pia Naib, and Deric Behar Among the different types of digital assets, global authorities seem most focused on stablecoins. This concern is the result … 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

El Salvador Christens Bitcoin as Legal Tender

A sovereign nation’s decision to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender raises interesting questions — and legal ramifications. By Elena Romanova, Larry Safran, Yvette D. Valdez, Eric S. Volkman, Stephen P. Wink, Adam Bruce Fovent, and Deric Behar On June 8, 2021, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly voted to establish Bitcoin as unrestricted legal tender, making El … 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

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations Find a Home in Wyoming

The State of Wyoming is solidifying its position as the friendliest state in the US for digital asset innovation. By Miles P. Jennings, Stephen P. Wink, and Deric Behar Although comprehensive digital asset regulation at the federal level remains elusive, US states are angling to establish themselves as blockchain and crypto-friendly jurisdictions. At the forefront … 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

A Map for the New World of Blockchain

A collaborative project led by the Global Blockchain Business Council represents an unprecedented effort to analyze the technical and regulatory blockchain landscape. By Stuart Davis, Axel Schiemann, Farhana Sharmeen, Simon Hawkins, Max von Cube, Kenneth Y.F. Hui, and Gen Huong Tan On October 14, 2020, the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) and the World Economic … Continue Reading

Banks Can Hold Stablecoin Reserves, OCC States in Crypto-Friendly Letter

The US OCC allows banks, with certain restrictions, to hold assets in reserve for stablecoin issuers. By Alan W. Avery, Todd Beauchamp, Stephen P. Wink, Pia Naib, Loyal T. Horsley, Charles Weinstein, and Deric Behar On September 21, 2020, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued Interpretive Letter #1172 (the Letter), … Continue Reading

What the CFTC Interpretation of “Actual Delivery” Means for Crypto

The long-awaited guidance clarifies the application of the “actual delivery” exception to leveraged virtual currency transactions with retail purchasers. By Yvette D. Valdez, J. Ashley Weeks, and Deric Behar Earlier this year, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approved final interpretive guidance (Guidance) concerning retail commodity transactions involving certain digital assets. The Guidance clarifies … 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 CFTC Takes New Steps to Promote Innovation and ‘Explore the Unwritten Future’

The US derivatives regulator continues to foster FinTech adoption and leadership in US markets. By Yvette D. Valdez, Douglas K. Yatter, and Deric Behar The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has affirmed its commitment to engaging the fast-moving financial technology world by elevating its LabCFTC unit to be an independent operating office within 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

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

Can Broker-Dealers HODL? SEC and FINRA Say Keep It Noncustodial for Now

The regulators attempt to clarify their position on the possible custody of digital assets by broker-dealers, but questions remain. By Stephen P. Wink, Cameron R. Kates, Shaun Musuka, and Deric Behar The SEC and FINRA recently released a joint staff statement (Joint Statement) addressing the custody of digital asset securities by broker-dealers. For some time, … Continue Reading

US Digital Asset Bills: Will April Legislation Bring May Flowers?

Federal legislators introduce two bills in an attempt to provide the blockchain economy with regulatory certainty. By Stephen P. Wink, Morgan E. Brubaker, Cameron R. Kates, and Shaun Musuka US regulators and federal legislators may be heeding the calls of crypto-enthusiasts for legal clarity regarding the status of digital assets and cryptocurrencies (collectively, Tokens). Two … Continue Reading

Russian Civil Code Recognizes Digital Rights and Smart Contracts

The new legislation may act as a catalyst for a crypto-evolution within Russian law. By Andrew C. Moyle and Elizaveta Bacheyeva On 18 March 2019, the Russian legislator took the first step in introducing the Russian civil law system to the new universe of digital assets. The Russian Civil Code was amended to include concepts … Continue Reading

New SEC Token Guidance: This Is Howey Do It

The SEC provides additional guidance for analyzing whether a digital asset is a security. By Stephen P. Wink, Cameron R. Kates, and Shaun Musuka On April 3, 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (the SEC) released a framework (the Framework) for assessing whether a blockchain-issued token or … Continue Reading
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