Crypto Investment and Payment Products Launch, BiTA Platform Announced, SEC and OFAC Take Crypto Enforcement Actions, FCA Extends AML Exemption

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Crypto Investment and Payments Products Launch, Payment Data Published

By: Veronica Reynolds

Last week Securitize announced the launch of Securitize Capital, which will serve as an investment manager of digital asset funds for institutional and accredited investors seeking exposure to cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance. Securitize Capital plans to launch two digital asset funds in early June. In a related development, the innovation and ventures unit of a major multinational financial services firm is reportedly working with the parent company of digital asset platform OSL to launch a new digital assets brokerage and exchange. The new venture will focus on providing investors access to digital asset liquidity pools.

According to a recently released report by PYMNTS and a major U.S. cryptocurrency payments provider, 18 percent of adults in the U.S. plan to make purchases using cryptocurrencies this year. Approximately 25 percent of those who currently own cryptocurrency have used cryptocurrency to pay for day-to-day goods such as groceries and streaming services. The report also cites research indicating that 12 percent of consumers currently own at least one cryptocurrency. As to demographics, the report indicates that 19 percent of millennials own cryptocurrency and that men are more likely than women to invest in the digital asset space.

This week Coinbase announced that consumers can use the Coinbase Card, a debit card that allows cryptocurrency to be used for payments and purchases, to make cryptocurrency mobile payments, in partnership with two major mobile app payment providers. In other crypto payments news, a large Mid-Atlantic restaurant and convenience store chain recently announced plans to accept cryptocurrency payments, citing increased adoption of cryptocurrencies by the mass public as well as improved security.

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Acquisition Targets ‘Smart Agreements’ Tech, BiTA Platform Launched

By: Jordan R. Silversmith

A U.S. company specializing in managing electronic agreements recently announced its acquisition of a startup specializing in “smart agreements” (SAs). Like smart contracts, SAs use computer code to execute tasks automatically to promote efficiency and lower costs. SAs also have the ability to integrate with blockchain systems. The startup’s technology will be used for the company’s Agreement Cloud platform, which can help parties catch erroneous data in a contract or agreement.

The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) recently introduced a new open-source collaboration platform to promote supply chain efficiency. According to a press release, BiTA’s collaboration platform will be the new workspace to provide feedback, iterate on works in progress and distribute new BiTA standards.

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SEC and OFAC Take Crypto Enforcement Actions, FCA Extends AML Exemption

By: Keith R. Murphy

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently filed suit against five individuals, alleging that they raised more than $2 billion from retail investors through their promotion of a global, unregistered digital asset securities offering. As noted in a recent press release, the complaint alleges that the defendants acted as promoters for BitConnect to market and sell securities without registering the securities offering or being registered as broker-dealers. The complaint seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement and civil penalties.

In an effort to provide additional surveillance tools to its investigators, the United States Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has sought another subscription to blockchain analytics software offered by a major blockchain analytics company, according to a recent report. The requested subscription reportedly is intended to help members of OFAC’s Office of Global Targeting collaborate with international partners on investigations into money laundering and terrorist financing.

A newly released report by another major blockchain analytics company addresses current issues and trends in cryptocurrency sanctions compliance. The report notes examples of increased sanctions activity and civil enforcement penalties by OFAC, and addresses proposed steps to help navigate compliance efforts, including identifying and avoiding interactions with cryptocurrency exchanges, miners and other services in countries such as North Korea, Iran and other jurisdictions that remain subject to broad financial and economic sanctions.

The Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom has extended the date of its temporary registrations regime, according to a press release this week. The extension allows existing cryptocurrency businesses to continue to operate while undergoing review of their compliance with money laundering regulations.

One of the world’s largest Internet technology companies has advised that as of Aug. 3, 2021, anyone who seeks to advertise cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets to U.S. customers on its Internet search engine must be registered with the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or a federal or state chartered bank regulator, based on a report this week. Certifications issued by the company prior to that date will be revoked at that time.

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