Blockchain technology utilizes a distributed digital ledger to record and track information, and can be leveraged to gain transparency and certainty in transactions ranging from cryptocurrency to supply chain tracking. This blog provides information on the legal developments surrounding implementation of blockchain technology, with an initial focus on the financial services sector.
On September 21, 2018, Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN), co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, announced his plans to introduce three pieces of legislation designed to support the use and development of blockchain technology in the United States.
In case the intrepid and hardy souls bravely blazing entrepreneurial paths in the New World of virtual currencies do not have enough regulatory hazards to navigate, one few seem to have considered to date is the possible application of the Model State Commodity Code (“Model Code”). Depending on how its thirty-three year old provisions are interpreted, the Model Code’s prohibition on the sale of commodities for speculative or investments may possibly be applied to some virtual currency businesses.
If 2017 was the year of the ICO, then 2018 may become the year of the cryptocurrency investigation
Concerned that virtual currencies and related products “may be attracting customers that do not fully understand their nature, the substantial risk of loss that could arise from trading them and the limitations of NFA’s oversight role,” the National Futures Association (“NFA”) is implementing new disclosure requirements for NFA Members engaging in virtual currency activities with customers.
A new law might provide blockchain companies a new way to raise funds. On May 22, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 2155, the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.” The Senate had passed the bill previously. The bill now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it into law.
The CFTC's Division of Market Oversight and Division of Clearing and Risk recently issued an advisory providing guidance to exchanges and clearinghouses regarding virtual currency derivatives to be listed or cleared. Entities already listing or clearing virtual currency derivatives, as well as those considering doing so, should be aware of the compliance and enforcement implications stemming from the advisory.