Here at The D&O Diary, we make it our business to watch securities class action lawsuit filings as they come in, to keep an eye on filing trends as they develop. For example, recently we have been looking for coronavirus-related securities class action lawsuits. But while we were scanning the horizon for COVID-19 suits, something else unexpectedly materialized – all of the sudden, on April 3, 2020, a great big pile of cryptocurrency-related securities class action lawsuits were filed in the Southern District of New York. The filing of eleven total cryptocurrency-related securities suits in a single day is really unprecedented in my experience.
Continue Reading Plaintiffs File a Slew of Cryptocurrency-Related Securities Suits

John Reed Stark

In the following guest post, John Reed Stark takes a look at the troubling rise of ransomware attacks, and the disturbing relationship between ransomware attacks and bitcoin. John is the President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is John’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Ransomware’s Year-End Thank You Note to Bitcoin

Karen Boto

In the following guest post, Karen Boto, Legal Director at Clyde & Co, takes a look at the Legal Statement recently published by the UK Jurisdictions Taskforce addressing a number of legal issues cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. A version of this article previously was published as a Clyde & Co client alert. I would like to thank Karen for allowing me to publish her article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Karen’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Landmark UK Legal Statement Provides Clarity for Smart Contracts and Cryptoassets

John Reed Stark

In a series of recent actions, the SEC has demonstrated its aggressive approach toward cryptocurrency regulation and enforcement. In the following guest post, John Reed Stark, President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a detailed look at the SEC’s recent actions and considers the actions’ implications. A version of this article originally appeared on Securities Docket. I would like to thank John for his willingness to allow me to publish his article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is John’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: The SEC Triples Down on its Cryptocurrency Crackdown

John Reed Stark

On November 29, 2018, the SEC announced that it had settled charges with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer DJ Khaled for failing to disclose payments they received for promoting investments in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In the following guest post, John Reed Stark, the President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a look at the SEC’s actions against Mayweather and Khaled and identifies some important takeaways from the SEC’s orders. I would like to thank John for his willingness to allow me to publish his article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is John’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Five Hidden Takeaways from the Khaled and Mayweather SEC Orders

John Reed Stark

Lost amidst all of the turmoil surrounding the dramatic swings in the value of digital currencies is that the original idea for these digital assets is that  they might actually be used as exchange media, in place of traditional currencies. Whether or not someone might use cryptocurrency to, say, buy a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s, Ohio residents, at least, may now use bitcoin to pay their state taxes. In the following guest post, John Reed Stark, President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a look at Ohio’s recent bitcoin move and reviews what it might mean – for Ohio, and in general. A version of this article previously was published on CybersecurityDocket.com. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his guest article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is John’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Ohio Now Accepts Bitcoin for Tax Payments; No Problem, Right?

As I have previously noted, the dramatic recent rise in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and in transactions involving cryptocurrencies generally has been accompanied by a number of securities class action lawsuits alleging, among other things, that the digital currencies’ issuers or sponsors failed to register the coins or tokens as securities with the SEC as required by the federal securities laws. These lawsuits raise a number of novel and interesting issues, including jurisdictional issues and other concerns arising from the cross-border nature of many of these transactions. On August 7, 2018, in a detailed decision in the securities class action relating to the 2017 Tezos ICO, Northern District of California Judge Richard Seeborg ruled on a number of these threshold issues. Among other things, Judge Seeborg’s decision contains an interesting analysis of the place of the ICO transactions took place in order to determine whether or not the U.S. securities laws apply. Judge Seeborg’s order can be found here.
Continue Reading Tezos ICO Securities Suit Dismissal Motion Denial Addresses Key Threshold Issues

Among the most interesting and significant recent developments on the financial landscape has been the rise of cryptocurrencies and ICOs. As these digital assets have proliferated, they have created a host of regulatory and legal issues. These issues in turn have presented related insurance issues. In the following guest post, John McCarrick, Sedgwick Jeanite, and Michael Goldwasser of the White & Williams law firm take a look at the claims and insurance coverage issues that ICOs present. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would to submit a guest post. Here is the authors’ article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: ICO-Related Claims and Insurance Coverage: Questions You Should be Asking

One of the cutting-edge legal issues – one that is raised in a number of pending securities class action lawsuits – is the question of whether cryptocurrencies are “securities” and therefore required to be registered with the SEC before they can be traded. Within this larger question are a host of related issues, perhaps the most interesting of which is the question whether digital currencies that act as “mediums of exchange” are securities, or rather are more like traditional currencies, which are exempt from the definition of securities. The answer to this question could have an enormous impact on the marketplace for digital currencies and could have significant liability implications in a number of pending actions and enforcement actions.
Continue Reading Is a Digital Coin that Functions as a Medium of Exchange a “Security”?