John Reed Stark

In the following guest post, John Reed Stark takes a closer look at President Donald Trump’s recent Twitter tirade against cryptocurrency and lays out a roadmap for the President to follow if his administration were to crack down on cryptocurrency. John is President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement. A version of this article previously appeared on Securities Docket. 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.
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John Reed Stark

In the following guest post, John Read Stark, President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a look at the latest cryptocurrency phenomenon — the  “initial exchange offering,” or IEO. A version of this article originally appeared on Securities Docket. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his article. 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 an article Here is John’s article.
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John Reed Stark

In a February 14, 2019 order, Southern District of California Judge Gonzalo Curiel entered an order reversing his earlier decision on the same issue and concluding that the digital tokens offered by cryptocurrency company Blockvest LLC represented “securities” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. 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 Judge Curiel’s ruling and what it many mean for future securities litigation involving digital currency offerings. A version of this article previously was published on Securities Docket. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post. 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.
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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.
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Liam Fitzpatrick

As I have noted in a number of recent posts, the question of providing appropriate insurance solutions for cryptocurrency companies – particularly for companies about the complete an initial coin offering (ICO) – continues to be a significant challenge. In the following guest post, Liam Fitzpatrick, Head of Public Offerings Focus Group for Marsh in London, takes a look at the characteristics of an ICO company that could make the company a more acceptable risk to prospective insurers. A version of this article previously appeared on Marsh’s Risk in Context blog. I would like to thank Liam for his willingness to allow 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 Liam’s article.
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Karen Boto

As prior posts on this blog have noted (most recently here), the rise of cryptocurrencies is one of the most important and interesting recent developments in the financial arena. The rise of cryptocurrencies presents a number of challenges. Among the challenges is providing appropriate insurance solutions for cryptocurrency companies. In the following guest post, Karen Boto, a Legal Director at Clyde & Co law firm, takes a look at these cryptocurrency-related insurance issues. A version of this article was previously published as a Clyde & Co client alert. I would like to thank Karen for her willingness to allow me to publish her article as a guest post. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Karen’s article.
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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.
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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.
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As digital assets and cryptocurrencies have become an increasingly important part of the current financial landscape, market participants and their advisors have struggled with to answer the question whether or not the tokens and coins represent “securities” subject to the requirements of the federal securities laws. In a remarkably direct speech on June 14, 2018, SEC Director of Corporate Finance William Hinman provided some helpful guidance on the SEC’s approach to these digital assets. Among other important things in his speech, Hinman shared his view that Bitcoin and Ether are not “securities” under the U.S. securities laws. He also emphasized that all of the circumstances involving a digital asset, including in particular the way in which it was sold, will determine whether or not the asset is a security. The text of Hinman’s speech at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit can be found here.
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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.
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