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ISDA Releases Whitepaper Regarding Legal Perspectives on Smart Contracts and Distributed Ledger Technology

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 issues raised … Continue Reading

SEC Report of Investigation Concludes that DAO Tokens Were Securities

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 … Continue Reading

CFTC Approves Registration of Bitcoin Platform LedgerX

On July 6, 2017, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) announced that it had granted LedgerX registration as a swap execution facility (“SEF”).  LedgerX is a platform that will trade and clear options on bitcoin. LedgerX has also applied to become a derivatives clearing organization.  If approved, LedgerX “would be the first federally regulated bitcoin … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Board Releases Research Paper on Digital Ledger Technology

The Federal Reserve Board released a staff research paper on Monday, December 5, 2016, addressing the potential use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in payments, clearing, and settlement (PCS) processes.  A distributed ledger is a type of database in which identical copies of information are distributed and maintained among multiple parties or multiple nodes in … Continue Reading

SEC Leaders Discuss Fintech Regulation

At the inaugural Financial Technology Forum hosted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) November 14, 2016, SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White and Commissioner Michael Piwowar gave remarks addressing the future of fintech regulation and the role of the SEC in such regulation. Both Chairwoman White and Commissioner Piwowar emphasized the potential benefits and … Continue Reading

Smart Contracts: Opportunities and Legal Risks

Financial services companies, software developers and governments alike are exploring opportunities to automate a wide range of legacy processes using smart contracts and blockchain technology. What are smart contracts? Smart contracts are “computable” legal contracts that execute automatically (without verification by a third party) when a set of pre-programmed conditions are satisfied.  Unlike traditional legal … Continue Reading
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