Oral arguments in U.S. v. Zaslavskiy presented a federal judge with the question of whether an initial coin offering is governed by the securities laws.
As states continue investigating virtual currencies, New York is seeking information from virtual currency exchanges in an effort to promote investor education.
Recent cases have distilled some of the crypto-specific legal issues that companies are facing in litigation.
An issuer of a coin or token in an initial coin offering “generally” is a money transmitter under Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s regulations, FinCEN indicated in a letter it made public on March 6, 2018.
On March 6, 2018, in a decision on the CFTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction and the pro se defendant’s motion to dismiss, United States District Court Judge Jack Weinstein in the Eastern District of New York ruled that virtual currencies are “commodities” as that term is used in the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations. Moreover, the court confirmed that a provision added to the CEA by the Dodd Frank Act, and regulations promulgated thereafter, provide the CFTC with jurisdiction over fraudulent transactions in the cash market for virtual currency even if the activity does not involve a futures or swap trade.
In what promises to be the start of a significant legal fight over the government’s ability to regulate initial coin offerings, or ICOs, under the federal securities laws, a Brooklyn man has moved to dismiss criminal securities fraud charges, arguing that digital coins are not “securities” within the meaning of the securities laws.