#CryptoSmartEsq News, carefully curated #blockchainlaw content-Issue 9 (7/31/2018)

By Professor Tonya M. Evans

Welcome to this week’s CryptoSmartEsq News, my carefully curated list of current legal issues and events in blockchain and crypto. 

If you’re new to this exciting, fast-developing space, check out the introductory video in the first CryptoSmartEsq news post. Follow me on Twitter at @CryptoSmartEsq (my blockchain and crypto-focused feed) and @IPProfEvans (my intellectual property-focused feed) and #EvansontheBlock for daily legal bits & bytes. Affiliate links noted with $.

I took a month-long hiatus from CryptoSmartEsq™ News for personal and professional travel and commitments. And boy has a LOT happened in this time. I am reminded what actual breaking news is … it happens every few minutes or so, it seems, in the blockchain ecosystem.

In fact, I’ve changed my Top Story three times in as many days. I won’t attempt to capture every bit of law-related news that happened since the last issue. But I will hit the high notes so dive in to this week’s #CryptoSmartEsq news.

~ Tonya Evans @IPProfEvans & @CryptoSmartEsq


This week’s #CryptoSmartEsq News includes:

  • SEC’s comments on crypto ETFs
  • MasterCard wins patent
  • Thailand tests digital fiat
  • CFA exam to include cryptocurrency questions
  • Prof. Evans has 8 blockchain events now through the end of October

Leave a comment and tweet me your news items.


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Top Story

SEC Delays Decision on Asset Manager’s Bitcoin ETFs Until September

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has delayed making a decision on whether to approve five bitcoin-related exchange-traded funds (ETFs) until September, public documents reveal on Tuesday.

In the latest edition of the Federal Register, the SEC explains that it is postponing any decision over the possible approval of ETF proposals filed by Direxion Investments in January – one of which will match bitcoin’s price and four of which are based on the cryptocurrency’s price movements.

Intellectual Property

Mastercard won a U.S. patent on Tuesday for a method of speeding up cryptocurrency payments.

The document, published July 17 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), explains that though cryptocurrencies have “seen increased usage over traditional fiat currencies by consumers who value anonymity and security,” the wide disparity in payment processing times between the two classes of assets puts cryptocurrencies at a “disadvantage.” [Read more …]

Law Practice

The cryptocurrency and blockchain technology industry is already crowded with firms eager to nab high-tech startups as clients or help legacy clients navigate a brave new world. But some BigLaw firms have gone further. [Read more …]

Law & Government

Crypto entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has argued on Twitter yesterday that the SEC’s second rejection of the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF it is in some sense “old news.” He stated that a pending decision over the Bitcoin ETF that has recently been filed by VanEck & SolidX for trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) will be more pivotal for the industry — and would likely generate more price-impactful “ETF excitement.”

Emerging financial technologies are taking us into a new chapter of economic history,” Giancarlo told the House Agriculture Committee. At the same time, he said investors should beware of cryptocurrency coins or tokens sold with the claim that they can buy goods, services, or platform access in the future. [Read more …]

In a speech made at an event in Singapore on Wednesday, central bank governor Veerathai Santiprabhob indicated that developing a wholesale central bank digital currency is currently in the pipeline as part of the country’s wider efforts in trialing blockchain technology in various sectors. [Read more …]

Cases and Enforcement Actions

… the rise in class action lawsuits around ICOs coincides with a larger, “historic” incidence of class action securities lawsuits since 2016, with more than 750 federal securities class actions having been filed since halfway through that year. That’s the most prolific 24-month period since the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 was enacted, according the the report. [Read more …]

Education

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are making serious headway in the financial industry, the most recent sign being the decision by the CFA Institute, which offers the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, a three-level program, to include cryptocurrencies and blockchain to its Level I and II curriculums next year, according to Bloomberg. The material for the 2019 exams will be available in August.

The topics are part of a new section called Fintech in Investment Management. The CFA, based in Charlottesville, Va., added these topics in response to rising interest based on focus groups and surveys. [Read more …]

Events

Professor Evans to speak at the following events:

August 9, 2018

August 10, 2018

August 24, 2018

September 21, 2018

  • Panelist, SMU Dedman School of Law Intellectual Property Symposium. The theme of this year’s symposium is Disruptive Ideas and Emerging Technology. Keynote speakers include Karyn Temple, Acting Register of Copyrights, and James Smith, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Ecolab (Dallas, TX)

September 25-26, 2018

October 4, 2018

  • Presenter, World Intellectual Property Organization Lunchtime Learning (Geneva, CH) (internal presentation re: IP & Blockchain)

October 18, 2018

  • Presenter, BYU Copyright and Trademark SymposiumCryptokitties, Cryptography & Copyright (Provo, UT). The paper will be published in the BYU Copyright and Trademark Symposium Issue of the American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal.

October 26-27, 2018

Need a speaker for your event?

[Contact me]


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[previous issue of CryptoSmartEsq News]

Blockchain, Crypto & Smart Contracts: What they are & what they mean for IP

© 2018 Tonya M. Evans

Attribution-NoDerivs
CC BY-ND

Recently, I delivered two presentations in Bangkok, Thailand about the intellectual property implications of blockchain technology. The first was an internal preso for the prominent Southeast Asian law firm of Tilleke & Gibbins, and the second was for the Licensing Executives Society-Thailand Conference.

In each preso, I engaged attendees (live and via video conference) in a macro-level exploration of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts to clarify what this relatively new disruptive, empowering ecosystem is, what it means for our collective future as attorneys, corporate leaders, startup founders and entrepreneurs, and its implications in intellectual property law.

Recently, Darts-IP.com published an article I wrote titled IP + Blockchain: A Primer based on some of the information I shared in Bangkok.

I could spend all day every day falling down the proverbial rabbit hole of information about blockchain. There is literally breaking blockchain and cryptocurrency news every minute, if Coindesk’s website and twitter feed are any indication. Each bit and byte of information leads to more information (and misinformation), FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), FOMO (fear of missing out), and speculation about all of the potential pitfalls and opportunities in this new technology frontier. So it’s difficult for most people to figure out where to begin. If this describes you, you’re not alone and you’ve come to the right place! Read on.

You probably have questions (or you wouldn’t be reading this post). Lots of them. The first may very well be where to begin to get a handle on the power and promise of blockchain. Everyone should have some baseline understanding. But lawyers, in particular, must achieve basic technological competence in this space to be well positioned to help clients solve problems. Given my background and expertise, I am particularly interested in the intellectual property issues triggered by blockchain’s rise in mainstream adoption as research & development use cases transition into full implementation and refinement.

In future posts, I will share trends and current events in the blockchain ecosystem that raise copyright, patent, and trademark issues. Follow me on Twitter @IPProfEvans for breaking IP-related blockchain and crypto news. Below are some blockchain basics that I cover more substantively in IP + Blockchain: A Primer and some additional resources about blockchain, crypto, and smart contracts.

So … what is Blockchain? [Updated excerpt from IP + Blockchain: A Primer Continue reading “Blockchain, Crypto & Smart Contracts: What they are & what they mean for IP”