On May 17, the FDIC and the CFPB took parallel actions to combat the misuse of  the name or logo of the FDIC and deceptive representations about deposit insurance.  The FDIC approved a final rule implementing its statutory authority to prohibit any person or organization from making misrepresentations about FDIC deposit insurance or misusing the FDIC’s name or logo.  The CFPB followed suit by releasing Consumer Financial Protection Circular 2022-02 providing that company’s likely violate the CFPA’s prohibition on deception acts or practices if they misuse the name or logo of the FDIC or engage in false advertising or make misrepresentations to consumers about deposit insurance, regardless of whether such conduct (including the misrepresentation of insured status) is engaged in knowingly.
Continue Reading FDIC and CFPB Take Action to Protect Against Misrepresentations about FDIC Insured Status and Misuse of Name and Logo

In an apparent follow up to President Biden’s March Executive Order on Digital Assets (which we previously discussed here), this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a similar executive order aiming to foster responsible innovation, bolster California’s innovation economy, and strengthen consumer protection through creating a transparent regulatory and business environment for Web3 companies.  Newsom’s executive order credits Biden’s executive order as paving the way for the assessment of key issues raised by crypto-assets and sets California on a path to harmonize its nascent crypto regulatory framework with forthcoming federal rules and guidelines and, hopefully, create regulatory clarity for businesses and consumers.
Continue Reading Governor Newsom Signs Blockchain Executive Order

In April, we continued to see a steady pace in the seriousness and frequency of crypto enforcement actions by state and federal law enforcement.  (See our March 2022 Crypto Enforcement Actions Roundup blog here where we discuss the regulatory guidance and jurisdiction of federal and state agencies to enforce these matters.)
Continue Reading April 2022 Crypto Enforcement Actions And Regulatory Guidance Roundup

On April 28, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) provided a “Virtual Currency Guidance” update.  The guidance is directed towards all virtual currency businesses licensed under 23 NYCRR Part 200 (the New York BitLicense) or limited purpose trust companies chartered under the New York Banking Law (collectively, “VC Entities”).”  The guidance mandates VC Entities to employ blockchain analytics to design and implement effective BSA/AML policies, processes, and procedures, including, for example, those relating to customer due diligence, transaction monitoring, and sanctions screening.
Continue Reading NYDFS Provides Guidance on the Use of Blockchain Analytics to Maintain Compliance

This January, Adrienne A. Harris was confirmed as superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services, which administers New York’s BitLicense program, among others.  In a March 28 interview, Harris discussed the BitLicense program in detail and addressed some of its longstanding issues, including its slow response times to applicants and updating some of the outdated regulatory and operational aspects of the program.
Continue Reading New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services Addresses BitLicense Delays

On March 23, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) responded to a request for an interpretative legal opinion as to whether the virtual currency services offered by a company require it to obtain a license under the California Money Transmission Act (MTA).
Continue Reading DFPI: Virtual Currency Platform is not Money Transmitter

Decentralized finance, DeFi, has quickly grown in popularity and is beginning to gain the attention of regulators attempting to stay ahead of one of the latest investor crazes. Blockchain-based financial technology such as DeFi largely operate outside of the traditional finance ecosystem occupied by  governmental agencies, intermediaries, central banks, brokerages, exchanges, and  banks by utilizing cryptocurrencies. DeFi providers are offering lending, banking, and investing options that are decentralized and not dependent on financial markets or regulations. As a result, DeFi providers often operate illegally or lack the protections that govern traditional financial service providers.
Continue Reading State Investor Advisory Addresses DeFi Risks

State and federal crypto and NFT-related enforcement actions continue to occupy the regulatory landscape with an apparent uptick coinciding with the issuance of The White House’s Executive Order in March (we discussed the Biden Executive Order here). The following are some enforcement actions from state and federal regulators since the Executive Order.
Continue Reading Crypto Round-up: Executive Order Coincides with Uptick in Enforcement Actions

On April 7, the FDIC issued a Financial Institution Letter (FIL-16-2022) calling on all FDIC-supervised intuitions that intend to engage in, or that are currently engaged in, any activities involving or related to crypto assets to notify the FDIC.
Continue Reading FDIC Warns Insured Institutions Engaging in Crypto Activities About Risks

On April 8, the acting comptroller of the currency, Michael J. Hsu, discussed many aspects of stablecoins (we previously discussed the President’s Working Group report on stablecoins and Hsu’s comments here). In his speech at the Georgetown University Law Center, Hsu remarked that stablecoins are a “hot topic” among policymakers and posed three considerations that speak to the architecture of stablecoins.
Continue Reading Acting Comptroller Discusses Architecture of Stablecoins