Author - Giles Whittaker

1
Open super in Australia: The Consumer Data Right could be extended to the superannuation industry
2
Proposed Regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act
3
ASX releases Compliance Update for listed entities on cryptocurrency-related activities
4
To regulate or not to regulate? That was the question: UK FCA provides its Final Guidance on regulation of crypto-assets
5
Make cryptocurrency by driving a Jag?! Sign us up
6
A Positive Step Forward or Much Ado About Nothing Yet Again? SEC FinHub Releases a “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets” and Historic No-Action Letter on Digital Assets for TurnKey Jet
7
Crypto founder’s death elevates taking a secret to the grave to the next level
8
Empire “Blockchain” Building
9
Blockchain-Based Businesses Receive Legislative Boost!
10
Amazon Unveils Plans to Provide Blockchain-as-a-Service

Open super in Australia: The Consumer Data Right could be extended to the superannuation industry

By Jim Bulling and Rebecca Gill

On 23 October 2019, the Senate Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology (Committee) published an issues paper regarding its comprehensive inquiry into fintechs and regtechs in Australia.  One aspect of the inquiry looks into the possibility of extending the Consumer Data Right (CDR) to the superannuation industry. 

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Proposed Regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act

By Linda Odom and John ReVeal

On October 10, 2019, the California Attorney General issued proposed regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The Attorney General will hold four public hearings, on December 2 through December 5, 2019, during which statements or comments may be presented, orally or in writing. Written comments in addition to those submitted at the public hearing also may be mailed or emailed to the Attorney General’s office until 5:00 p.m. on December 6, 2019.

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ASX releases Compliance Update for listed entities on cryptocurrency-related activities

By Jim Bulling and Rebecca Gill

On 1 August 2019, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) published its Compliance Update (Update) which sets out its guidance for listed entities that are proposing to engage in cryptocurrency-related activities, being initial coin offerings (ICOs) and initial exchange offerings (IEOs).

The Update notes that many tokens offered to investors in Australia as part of an ICO or an IEO may be regulated by the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) as the tokens may constitute interests in managed investment schemes. As such, listed entities should seek legal advice prior to engaging in cryptocurrency-related activities.

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To regulate or not to regulate? That was the question: UK FCA provides its Final Guidance on regulation of crypto-assets

By Jim Bulling and Rebecca Gill

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released its Feedback and Final Guidance (Guidance) on crypto-assets, specifying when certain types of crypto-assets fall under existing categories. The Guidance is in response to the FCA’s consultation paper from January 2019 on crypto-assets. As we have previously blogged, the consultation paper looked at whether crypto-assets could be considered ‘specified investments’ under the Regulated Activities Order (RAO) and other instruments, and therefore should be regulated.

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Make cryptocurrency by driving a Jag?! Sign us up

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

Firstly, no, you don’t have to be an Uber driver driving a Jag to reap the benefit of the car manufacturer’s new innovation.

Jaguar Land Rover has announced it is testing “Smart Wallet” technology that will enable drivers to earn cryptocurrency while driving.

How? Technology embedded in the car will automatically report road condition data, such as traffic congestion and potholes to navigation providers and local authorities, which will earn the car’s driver credits.

The credits can be used to buy coffee, pay tolls and parking tickets – which all sounds pretty handy to us.

Jag has partnered with IOTA Foundation which is providing the “IOTA-powered car wallet” which uses a distributed ledger technology to make and receive payments. It is currently being trialled in Ireland. IOTA forecasts that 75 billion devices will be connected to the Smart Wallet technology by 2025 – we’re pretty excited to see how this unfolds.

A Positive Step Forward or Much Ado About Nothing Yet Again? SEC FinHub Releases a “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets” and Historic No-Action Letter on Digital Assets for TurnKey Jet

By Margaret N. Rosenfeld, Robert M. Crea, Jonathan M. Miner and Steven B. Levine

In a flurry of activity today, the U.S. SEC’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Technology (“FinHub”) issued a “Framework for ‘Investment Contract’ Analysis of Digital Assets” and the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (“CorpFin”) issued a historic No-Action Letter to Turnkey Jet, Inc. (“TurnKey Jet”) in connection with its offer and sale of digital assets.  The Framework doesn’t contain anything substantially new for U.S. securities law practitioners who have been giving guidance to companies regarding digital assets (or utility tokens, security tokens or digital securities depending upon your term of choice) for some time, but serves as a good reminder of the SEC staff’s thought process in this area for those new to the space. 

And in case you missed Footnote 1 to the Framework, Bill Hinman (SEC Director of CorpFin) and Valerie Szczepanik (SEC Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation) released a Statement on the Framework reminding everyone that the SEC has not approved or disapproved of the content and it is not a rule or regulation.  These types of Frameworks are often how the internal staff at the SEC get the ball rolling on regulatory innovations (recall the legendary Project Aircraft Carrier of 1998). The Framework applies the factors set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Howey case to digital assets, without going further. Therefore, it’s worth questioning whether Director Hinman has lost the argument internally at the SEC that he posited in his June 2018 Digital Asset Transactions remarks, in which he included “does application of the Securities Act protections make sense” in his list of considerations for assessing whether a digital asset offering is an investment contract.

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Crypto founder’s death elevates taking a secret to the grave to the next level

By Cameron Abbott and Ella Richards

In an age where cyber security breaches are a near daily occurrence, and where we’re frequently reminded to keep our passwords secret and safe, the story that’s emerged regarding the fate of over AU$190 million of crypto-currency following the death of Gerald Cotten, the founder of Quadriga CX, is a little ironic to say the least.

The untimely death of the 30-year-old in December brought with it an unexpected sober reality – Mr Cotten was the only person with access to Quadriga’s coin reserve. No really … the ONLY person… you can see where this is going can’t you?

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Empire “Blockchain” Building

Authors: Cameron Abbott and Sara Zokaei Fard

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is looking at 2019 with fresh eyes. Although digital coin prices plummeted in 2018, some by as much as 90%, NYCEDC has announced that it will open a blockchain centre in Manhattan. The blockchain centre is being developed by NYCEDC in partnership with blockchain industry leaders Future\Perfect Ventures and the Global Blockchain Business Council. 

It is reported that the blockchain centre will be a resource for industry professionals as well as those interested in learning about the technology. It will create a peer community that will provide business support, mentorship as well as public education to assist people to understand how blockchain can impact daily life. The block chain centre will also be utilised to convene bodies including from industry and government to further dialogue on a regulatory environment that supports both consumers and innovation.

Industry leaders have described it as “a nascent technology” and a “burgeoning innovation sector”. The question now becomes, should we invest in bitcoin, or the blockchain centre itself as Microsoft and IBM have done!

Blockchain-Based Businesses Receive Legislative Boost!

By Cameron Abbott and Jessica McIntosh

The Midwestern state of Ohio has last week become one of the first states in the US to pass legislation which recognises the use of blockchain technology, and as a result blockchain data and transactions will now have legal bearing in the State of Ohio.

Governor John Kasich says the legislation was introduced with a clear focus, that is, to treat data and smart contracts stored through blockchain technology as electronic records and to promote the role of blockchain technology in a range of industries, not just through cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. This legislative boost will allow the use of blockchain technology in various sectors from real estate to health care.

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Amazon Unveils Plans to Provide Blockchain-as-a-Service

By Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Georgia Mills

Amazon Web Services (AWS) plans to be one of a handful of tech companies providing blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) for customers wanting to test the new technology without the costs or risks of developing it in house.  Other providers of BaaS include Microsoft, IBM, HP, Oracle and SAP.

AWS has partnered with Kaleido, a new blockchain business cloud service for enterprises.  Kaleido will offer its cloud services to host an Enterprise Ethereum-based, open-source blockchain platform, making Kaleido the first managed blockchain SaaS available on AWS.  The platform has been designed to be easy to use, as the uncertainty surrounding the new technology has prevented its widespread adoption.

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