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Showing 3 posts by Kraig Ahalt.

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Cryptocurrency Rage Sparks SEC Action in the Era of Celebrity Endorsements 

While cryptocurrency remains a new concept for many investors across the globe, more and more people are becoming familiar with the digital asset class. This is not only a result of the constant drumbeat of crypto-related headlines in the media, but also because of the personalities touting the potential for riches from Bitcoin, Ethereum and the like.

In fact, a much younger audience of would-be crypto tycoons is being reached by virtue of the individuals being paid to advertise digital coins and exchanges. These include TikTok stars such as the D’Amelio sisters and Tana Mongeau, who have been retained to endorse cryptocurrency to their millions of followers. Even Kim Kardashian West has jumped on the bandwagon. She has posted ads for Ethereum Max—a speculative digital token created by unknown developers—on her Instagram stories, and these have been viewed tens of millions of times. (Read More)

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Binance De-Platforms Suex Exchange Amid Groundbreaking Sanctions: Potential New Standards in Cryptocurrency Compliance

Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) levied sanctions against Russian-based cryptocurrency exchange Suex. This move represents the first time the U.S. has sanctioned a digital currency exchange, signaling a major shift for cryptocurrency exchanges and their potential exposure to liability.

The news gets even worse for Suex. Around the same time that OFAC announced the sanctions, cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that its compliance program had identified issues with Suex, de-platformed the exchange, and shared information from its investigation with law enforcement. Binance’s success may set a new standard for digital asset compliance programs, but time will tell whether it has set a new gold standard or will become the bare minimum. (Read More)

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SEC v. BitConnect: New Technology, Same Old Financial Fraud

Blockchain technology is often touted for its enormous potential to revolutionize many aspects of the financial system. This relatively new technology, however, does nothing to eliminate would-be criminals from leveraging age-old fraud schemes. The SEC’s recent case against BitConnect bears this out. The proceeding also demonstrates that the federal government maintains a strong interest in rooting out old-fashioned fraud, even in the digital asset space. (Read More)