Tag: ICO

1
ASX releases Compliance Update for listed entities on cryptocurrency-related activities
2
ASIC Updates Guidance on Initial Coin Offerings and Crypto-Assets
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EU supervisors call for EU-wide policy response to crypto-assets
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Stakeholder Report on ICOs and Crypto Assets
5
Fintech Trends – Shift From ICOs to STOs
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Commissioner Brian Quintenz Comments On The Liability Of Smart Contract Developers For Uses In Violation of CFTC Regulations
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The SEC Expands its Enforcement Throughout the Digital Industry
8
ASIC acts on Initial Coin Offerings and crypto-asset funds
9
UAE Securities and Commodities Authority to Regulate ICOs and Join Growing List of Regulators
10
One Year after the “DAO Report” Three U.S. Courts Begin to Provide Crypto-Clarity

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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ASIC Updates Guidance on Initial Coin Offerings and Crypto-Assets

By Jim Bulling and Edwin Tan

On 30 May 2019, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) updated its Information Sheet 225 which sets out guidance for entities that are looking to raise funds through initial coin offerings (ICOs) or are otherwise involved with crypto-assets. Interestingly, ASIC has grouped crypto-asset participants into several distinct categories and has broadly set out the obligations that may apply to participants in each category.

Particular aspects of the information sheet that may be of interest to crypto-asset participants include:

  • ASIC has stated that entities should be prepared to justify a conclusion that their ICO does not involve a regulated financial product;
  • platform operators that allow crypto-assets that are financial products to be traded on the platform must hold an Australian market licence or be otherwise exempt. As at the time of release, there are no platform operators that have been appropriately licensed or exempt;
  • assessments of Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence applications for the purposes of crypto-asset-related financial products may take more time; and
  • clearing and settlement obligations may apply to “miners” that are part of the clearing and settlement processes for tokens that are financial products.

In summary, while ASIC’s updated Information Sheet does not break any new ground in relation to the regulation of crypto-assets in Australia, it serves as a useful resource for any entity that is looking to be involved as a crypto-asset participant. We remind our readers there are many avenues to market for token issuers, even where their tokens constitute financial products, and it may be useful to seek legal advice in this regard. For example, tokens that only constitute securities can be offered to sophisticated investors without attracting significant disclosure obligations including the provision of a prospectus.

EU supervisors call for EU-wide policy response to crypto-assets

By Giovanni Campi and Martina Topercerova

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) published two complementary assessments of the regulatory coverage of crypto-assets under existing EU legislation and also set out their advice to the European Commission on potential policy initiatives in the future.

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Stakeholder Report on ICOs and Crypto Assets

By Jonathan Lawrence

The Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG) of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published a report on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto assets. The goal of the report is to give advice to ESMA on steps it can take to contain the risks of ICOs and crypto assets (on top of existing regulation). The report mainly focuses on risks for investors as the SMSG states that there are no obvious market stability risks yet in this respect.

The first part of the report defines relevant concepts including crypto asset, virtual currency, cryptocurrency, token and ICO. There is taxonomy of crypto assets including payment tokens, utility tokens, asset tokens and hyrbids. The report also includes an overview of recent ICOs and of existing regulations of crypto assets, ICOs and sandboxes in 36 jurisdictions, including the European Union member states and Switzerland. The SMSG gives specific recommendations to ESMA on potential regulatory changes.

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Fintech Trends – Shift From ICOs to STOs

By Nicholas Hanna and Mark Tan

In recent months, there has been a noticeable shift by token issuers away from initial coin offerings (ICOs) towards security token offerings (STOs) largely driven in part to a recent bottoming out of the retail market (including Bitcoin and Ethereum) and softening demand from retail investors for ICOs.

This trend appears to have resulted from retail investors having come to realize the inherent limitations that ICOs possess, namely the fact that tokens issued in connection with an ICO generally only have “utility” and not much inherent value. Additionally, we are now also starting to see more interest from sophisticated and/or accredited investors and funds, who also tend to prefer “security” tokens instead of “utility tokens” when looking to make an investment, due to the inherent value that the former possess.

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Commissioner Brian Quintenz Comments On The Liability Of Smart Contract Developers For Uses In Violation of CFTC Regulations

By Anthony R.G. Nolan and Russell E. Deutsch

Recently, Commissioner Brian Quintenz of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commented that smart contracts that have the defining features of a swap, future or option are subject to CFTC regulation. The Commissioner posited the hypothetical that, after appropriate analysis, the CFTC has concluded that a particular smart contract, e.g., a binary option executed on a blockchain, is within its jurisdiction. He queried: If that contract is executed in violation of CFTC regulations, then against whom should the CFTC bring enforcement action?

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The SEC Expands its Enforcement Throughout the Digital Industry

By Dan S. Cohen

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) is ramping up its enforcement efforts in the digital asset industry, expanding its focus to include digital asset brokers and investment companies. On September 11, the Commission issued an order against a digital asset hedge fund and announced a settlement with a self-described “ICO superstore” for violating federal securities laws. The Commission fined Crypto Asset Management LP and its principal for failing to register as an investment company, among other things. According to the SEC, Crypto Asset Management, which trades digital assets exclusively, is an investment company pursuant to the Investment Company Act because it “invest[s], reinvest[s], own[s], hold[s] or trad[es] in securities.

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ASIC acts on Initial Coin Offerings and crypto-asset funds

By Jim Bulling, Edwin Tan and Felix Charlesworth

In a statement issued today, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) revealed that it has prevented five Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) from raising capital and will be taking further action in respect of one completed ICO.  The ICOs have been put on hold and some will be restructured to comply with relevant laws and regulations.  ASIC has also issued a final stop order in respect of a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) issued by Investors Exchange Limited for units in the New Dawn Fund, which proposed to invest in a range of cryptocurrency assets.

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UAE Securities and Commodities Authority to Regulate ICOs and Join Growing List of Regulators

By Jim Bulling and Edwin Tan

On 16 September 2018, the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority’s (SCA) chairman Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri announced that the SCA would regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) and recognise them as securities, as well as introduce controls for trading digital tokens.  The statement reads: In light of the rapid development of the digital tokens market and the response thereto by the regulators in a number of countries worldwide towards regulating the initial coin offerings, the SCA Board of Directors has approved the SCA plan to regulate the ICOs and recognise them as securities”.

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One Year after the “DAO Report” Three U.S. Courts Begin to Provide Crypto-Clarity

By Clifford C. Histed and Nicole C. Mueller

One year ago today, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) published the “DAO Report” which concluded that certain tokens issued in an initial coin offering (“ICO”) were securities under the Supreme Court decision SEC v. W.J. Howey Co.  The Report stated that whether an ICO is a security offering will depend on the facts and circumstances, including the economic realities of the transaction.  Confusion, private lawsuits, SEC enforcement actions, and even criminal prosecutions ensued, but three courts are about to provide clarity.

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