FinTech and Blockchain Law Watch

At the Crossroads of Law, Innovation and Commerce

1
Tokenized Products of SFC-Authorized Investment Products Can Be Offered to Retail Customers in Hong Kong
2
Singapore to Share Cryptocurrency Tax Information With Other Countries
3
CFPB Wants to Oversee Large Nonbank Digital Payment Providers
4
Hong Kong Stock Exchange Launches a New Blockchain-Based, Real-Time Settlement Platform
5
NY AG Sues Gemini, Genesis, and DCG for Fraud
6
Australia: Licensing Comes to the Crypto Industry
7
CFTC Files Complaint Against Voyager’s Former CEO Stephen Ehrlich Alleging Fraud and Registration Failures
8
Hong Kong Monetary Authority Unveils Fintech Promotion Roadmap
9
Connecticut Stifles Employees’ Access to their Earned Wages
10
New FTC Guidance: The INFORM Consumers Act’s Impact on Online Marketplaces’ Third-Party Sellers

Tokenized Products of SFC-Authorized Investment Products Can Be Offered to Retail Customers in Hong Kong

By: Jay Lee and Natalie Chow

The Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (SFC) will now allow tokenized authorized investment products to be offered to retail investors. Recognizing the growing interest in the tokenization of investment products in Hong Kong, on 2 November 2023, the SFC issued a circular outlining the public offering scheme and requirements of tokenized authorized investment products under the Securities and Futures Ordinance for primary dealings. However, secondary trading of such tokenized investment products is not allowed yet.

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Singapore to Share Cryptocurrency Tax Information With Other Countries

By: Nicolet-Serra and Josh Durham

Singapore has just become the 48th nation (joining the US) to begin implementing the international Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF), which is intended to standardize the automatic exchange of personal financial information between countries and to reduce tax evasion by those engaging in cryptocurrency transactions.

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CFPB Wants to Oversee Large Nonbank Digital Payment Providers

By Jeremy McLaughlin, Andrew Hinkes, and Josh Durham

Yesterday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that, according to the agency, aims to “crack down on [fintech] regulatory arbitrage by ensuring large technology firms and other nonbank payment providers are subjected to appropriate oversight.”

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Hong Kong Stock Exchange Launches a New Blockchain-Based, Real-Time Settlement Platform

By Jay Lee and Beatrice Wun

Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) recently launched “HKEx Synapse” (Synapse), a new blockchain-based settlement platform to complement the existing post-trade infrastructure for Northbound Stock Connect. “Stock Connect” in Hong Kong refers to a market access program through which investors in Mainland China and Hong Kong can trade and settle shares listed on the other market via exchanges and clearing houses in the home market. “Northbound Stock Connect” refers to the market access program where investors in Hong Kong can have access to shares in Mainland China.

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NY AG Sues Gemini, Genesis, and DCG for Fraud

By Eden Rohrer, Aiden O’Leary, and Josh Durham

On 19 October 2023, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against cryptocurrency companies Gemini Trust Company, LLC (Gemini), Genesis Global Capital, LLC (Genesis), Digital Currency Group, Inc. (DCG), and several of their affiliates and controlling persons, in relation to Gemini’s digital asset investment program called Gemini Earn (Earn). In addition to claims that Earn constituted the offering of an unregistered security, which we have seen recently in other SEC and state regulator enforcement actions, the lawsuit also claims that the defendants allegedly defrauded investors by concealing the program’s risks and misleading investors about the financial stability of Genesis.

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Australia: Licensing Comes to the Crypto Industry

By Daniel Knight and Kithmin Ranamukhaarachchi

Yesterday the Australian Federal Government released its proposal paper on regulating the crypto industry (Paper). The government proposes to regulate exchanges, custodians and other digital asset service providers within the scope the Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensing regime.

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CFTC Files Complaint Against Voyager’s Former CEO Stephen Ehrlich Alleging Fraud and Registration Failures

By Cliff Histed, Cheryl Isaac, Eden Rohrer, and Josh Durham

On 12 October, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a complaint against Stephen Ehrlich, the former CEO of the now-defunct cryptocurrency platform, Voyager Digital (Voyager), in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. In its 55-page complaint, the CFTC asserts both fraud and registration failures by Ehrlich in connection with the Voyager platform and Voyager’s operation of an unregistered commodity pool.

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Hong Kong Monetary Authority Unveils Fintech Promotion Roadmap

By Jay Lee and Beatrice Wun

In a transformative step for the financial technology (fintech) industry, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) recently announced a new Fintech Promotion Roadmap (Roadmap), which outlines its key initiatives to be taken over the next 12 months to expedite the growth of the Fintech ecosystem and give stronger impetus to fintech adoption in the Hong Kong financial services sector.

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Connecticut Stifles Employees’ Access to their Earned Wages

By John ReVeal and Jeremy McLaughlin

Earned Wage Access (or EWA) programs are popular programs that allow employees to access their salary or wages that have already been earned, prior to the scheduled payroll date. Many argue that these beneficial programs are not truly “loans” because employees are accessing their own money without paying the high fees charged by payday lenders. However, some state regulators disagree, making EWA programs more difficult to access, depending on what state in which the employee lives.

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New FTC Guidance: The INFORM Consumers Act’s Impact on Online Marketplaces’ Third-Party Sellers

By Adam Husik and John ReVeal

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued guidance on how the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act (the “INFORM Consumers Act” or “Act”) may impact online sellers who offer consumer products through online marketplaces.

The Act, as described in our prior blog post, is aimed at addressing consumer complaints about online purchases of stolen, counterfeit, or defective products. As of the Act’s 27 June 2023 effective date, online marketplaces are now generally required to obtain, verify, and disclose certain financial and business information about high-volume sellers on their platforms.

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