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Michael Nonaka is a partner in the firm’s Financial Institutions practice group. He represents banks and other financial institutions on a wide variety of bank regulatory, enforcement, legislative and policy issues.  Mr. Nonaka also is co-chair of the firm’s Fintech Initiative and works with a number of banks, lending companies, money transmitters, payments firms, technology companies, and service providers on innovative technologies such as big data, blockchain and related technologies, bitcoin and other virtual currencies, same day payments, and online lending.

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise many industries; it has been said that “blockchain will do to the financial system what the internet did to media”.  Its most famous use is its role as the architecture of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, however it has many other potential uses in the financial sector, for instance in trading, clearing and settlement, as well as various middle- and back-office functions.  Its transformative capability also extends far beyond the financial sector, including in smart contracts and the storage of health records to name just a few.

A blockchain is a shared immutable digital ledger that records transactions / documents / information in a block which is then added to a chain of other blocks on a de-centralised network.  Blockchain technology operates through a peer network, where transactions must be verified by participants before they can be added to the chain.

Notwithstanding its tremendous capabilities, in order for the technology to unfold its full potential there needs to be careful consideration as to how the technology can comply with new European privacy legislation, namely the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) which came into force on 25 May 2018.  This article explores some of the possible or “perceived” challenges blockchain technology faces when it comes to compliance with the GDPR.

Continue Reading The GDPR and Blockchain

Blockchain is a powerful innovation that is poised to bring substantial positive change to the financial services industry as well as many other industries.  Despite such promise, blockchain, like any emerging financial services technology, must be evaluated from the perspective of cybersecurity risk – both to an individual financial institution and to the broader and

The Senate Banking Committee held its first hearing of 2018 earlier this week to discuss potential reform of the current U.S. regulatory framework for combating money laundering and other forms of illicit financing.  Current proposals for reform include raising the mandatory reporting thresholds for currency transactions and suspicious activity, requiring the collection of beneficial ownership information for U.S. companies at the time of incorporation, and allowing greater information sharing among financial institutions and the government.  The potential reforms are receiving initial bipartisan support on some key issues as legislators from both parties have voiced concerns over the need to update the current Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulatory regime.

Continue Reading Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Reform of Regulations Related to Money Laundering and Other Illicit Financing Activities

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury earlier today, Kenneth A. Blanco has been named Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).  Mr. Blanco will join FinCEN after serving as the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ Criminal Division.  He has significant expertise in money laundering and

On August 3, 2017, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (“ISDA”) and Linklaters LLP released a whitepaper titled “Smart Contracts and Distributed Ledger – A Legal Perspective.” The whitepaper sets out to define the terms “smart contract” and “distributed ledger,” to analyze their applications to the derivatives industry, and to highlight potential legal

On July 25, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a Report of Investigation (“Report”) finding that the digital tokens offered and sold by the virtual, unincorporated organization known as “The DAO” were securities subject to the federal securities laws. The DAO sold DAO tokens in exchange for the digital currency Ether used on

On June 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the first of a series of reports recommending regulatory reforms to the financial system consistent with President Trump’s Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System.  Treasury’s first report focuses on the regulatory framework governing the depository system.  Notably, a substantial portion of