Archive: 2021

1
Taking Bitcoin to the Bank: FDIC Seeks Comments on Bank Services for Digital Assets
2
New UK Insolvency Regime for Payment Institutions and Electronic Money Institutions
3
Annual Consumer Financial Services Symposium to Focus on 5 Top Issues
4
Cannabis Banking in the US – The Latest on the SAFE Act
5
The NFT Explosion – What lawyers need to know
6
First Cannabis-related Business SARs Penalty Against a Depository Institution
7
UK Makes Contactless Payments Easier – Purchases up to £100 (~$140) Will No Longer Require Strong Customer Authentication
8
It’s Happening in the UK: UK Treasury to Regulate Stablecoins
9
Post-Brexit: Significant Changes to UK Cross-Border Payments Regulation
10
Significant Changes are Coming: UK Payments Regulation

Taking Bitcoin to the Bank: FDIC Seeks Comments on Bank Services for Digital Assets

By: Judie Rinearson, Jeremy McLaughlin, and Daniel S. Cohen

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has issued a “Request for Information and Comment on Digital Assets” (RFI) to learn more about the “novel and unique considerations related to digital assets….[g]iven that banks are increasingly exploring the emerging digital asset ecosystem.” A key theme of the RFI is the development of a framework to promote “responsible innovation.” Comments are due by July 16, 2021.

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New UK Insolvency Regime for Payment Institutions and Electronic Money Institutions

By Max Griffin, Jonathan Lawrence and Kai Zhang

A new special administration regime is being introduced in the UK for insolvent payment institutions (PIs) and electronic money institutions (EMIs).

The key purposes of the Regulations are to ensure that in the event of an institution’s insolvency (a) funds are returned to customers quickly and (b) shortfalls in the amounts returned are minimised. Since 2018, six PIs and EMIs have entered insolvency but only one has returned customer funds.

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Annual Consumer Financial Services Symposium to Focus on 5 Top Issues

K&L Gates is proud to host the 2021 Consumer Financial Services Symposium – Virtual Edition.  This symposium will consist of a series of webinars over the course of several weeks with the first panel focusing on FinTech Trends, Developments, and New Directions on Wednesday, April 21 at 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EST. 

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Cannabis Banking in the US – The Latest on the SAFE Act

By: Brenden R. Chainey, Daniel S. Cohen, Daniel F. C. Crowley, Scott J. Gelbman, Barry M. Hartman, Kathleen L. Nicholas

In September 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019”, the first stand-alone cannabis legislation to be approved by the House of Representatives. Earlier this month, revised versions of the bill were introduced in the House and Senate “to reform federal cannabis laws and reduce the public safety risk in communities across the country.”

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The NFT Explosion – What lawyers need to know

First there were CryptoKitties. Then came Digital art, CryptoPunks and NBA tokens. But when Beeple’s digital art piece sold at Christie’s for $69 million, the mania truly  began.  And as with any wave of media mania, also came the groundswell of negative media and hand-wringing about NFTs.   Of course, NFTs are not all evil nor are they a panacea for artists and musicians. If properly issued and positioned, they can provide a win-win for both artists and collectors.

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First Cannabis-related Business SARs Penalty Against a Depository Institution

By: Daniel Cohen, Judie Rinearson, Jeremy McLaughlin

On 21 February 2021, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) became the first prudential regulator to issue an administrative order against a depository institution primarily on the basis of noncompliance with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) “BSA Expectations Regarding Marijuana-related Businesses” (FIN-2014-GOO1) (MRB Guidance). NCUA and Live Life Federal Credit Union entered into a stipulation and a consent to a cease and desist order in which the credit union, without admitting any wrongdoing,  agreed to “implement an automated system to effectively monitor and identify all transaction for suspicious activity…includ[ing] functions to support [its] compliance with FinCEN requirements for Marijuana-Related Businesses (“MRB”).”

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UK Makes Contactless Payments Easier – Purchases up to £100 (~$140) Will No Longer Require Strong Customer Authentication

By Kai Zhang

Following consultation in January 2021 (CP21/3), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) published its decision, on 3 March (PS21/2), to increase the contactless payment limits under the Strong Customer Authentication (“SCA”) requirements. Essentially, SCA is not required for single contactless transactions up to the value of £100 (about $140) per transaction (increased from the previous £45 ($62)), subject to (amongst others) the cumulative transaction value threshold of £300 (about $420) (increased from the previous £130 ($180)). Once this cumulative threshold is hit, the contactless transaction must again be authenticated before the transaction can proceed.  The cumulative threshold was initially proposed at £200 in the consultation but is set at £300 in response to the industry feedback (according to the FCA).

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It’s Happening in the UK: UK Treasury to Regulate Stablecoins

By Kai Zhang and Judie Rinearson

On 7 January, the UK Treasury published a consultation on its proposed approach to regulating stablecoins. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/uk-regulatory-approach-to-cryptoassets-and-stablecoins-consultation-and-call-for-evidence  Although the title of the consultation includes “cryptoassets” – this is the just first stage in the consultative process for cryptoassets, which focuses on stablecoins referred to as “stable tokens”. The consultation closes on 21 March. For US readers, a “consultation” is the start of regulatory process, not unlike an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” or “ANPR” in the US.  The UK government sets out the supervisory perimeters, seeking input from the public, and leaving the detailed requirements to be designed by the regulators. Accordingly, the consultation discusses only general principles and the overall framework.

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Post-Brexit: Significant Changes to UK Cross-Border Payments Regulation

By Kai Zhang, Philip Morgan and Judie Rinearson 

The EU Cross-Border Payments Regulation 924/2009 (as amended by Regulation 2019/518) (EU CBPR) has been “onshored” with significant changes into UK law following the end of the Brexit transition period (i.e., since 1 January 2021). The EU CBPR applied directly in the UK until 31 December 2020. Essentially, the onshored UK CBPR regime only retains the transparency requirements on currency conversion charges under the EU CBPR. This means that UK payment service providers (PSPs) no longer have to comply with other requirements under the EU CBPR.

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Significant Changes are Coming: UK Payments Regulation

By Kai Zhang, Philip Morgan, and Judie Rinearson

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) commenced, on 28 January 2021, a consultation (CP21/3) on various changes to the UK regulation of payment services and electronic money. The proposals include amendments to the substantive regulatory requirements as well as changes to the FCA guidance. Similar to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) in the US, the consultation seeks industry and public feedback, and is fully expected to lead to formal regulation in the near future.

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