Time is Truly Relative, a GDPR Checklist and a Google Ban In Between: Distributed Counsel 8


I haven’t done a newsletter in a while and, well, a lot has happened.  I’ve selected a few of the most interesting stories. There is so much happening in this space that it is impossible to be comprehensive.  Also, there is a very special link at the end of this one for the GDPR-concerned. Remember, the GDPR goes into effect on May 25, 2018. The website even has a countdown clock.

The Inexorable March of Time

Bitcoin has slowed time itself.  So many people are mining cryptocurrency in Europe that the electrical grid can’t keep up.  For certain clocks that depend on electrical frequency to keep time, this means that time literally passes more slowly.

SEC Says the Same Thing Over Again; Markets Tank

The SEC issued a new statement concerning the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges. The regulator wrote “[a] number of these platforms provide a mechanism for trading assets that meet the definition of a ‘security’ under the federal securities laws.  If a platform offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an ‘exchange,’ as defined by the federal securities laws, then the platform must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration.”  

Markets reacted poorly to the SEC “news.”  I can’t imagine why. The SEC stated almost exactly the same thing in July of last year.  Indeed, the entirely of section D of that document, on the original DAO, was devoted the fact that trading cryptocurrency on exchanges required registration.  No one should have been surprised. 

SEC Subpoenas Everybody

In related news, the SEC has issued a whole lot of subpoenas.  According to a Techcrunch founder and recent recipient, virtually everyone has gotten one.  As an aside, at what point does receiving a subpoena become fashionable?  In all seriousness, please always, always, always consult your attorney before responding to a subpoena.

It Begins

The CFTC got a federal judge to say that cryptocurrencies are commodities and it intends to use it.  Right away. Look for more of this as both the CFTC and the SEC begin to explore their respective jurisdictions.

Google Bans All Crypto Advertising

Google announced today that it has banned all crytocurrency advertising.   A Google representative stated: “We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”  The ban takes effect in June.

First of all, Google, you do have a crystal ball.  You have more data than anyone, ever. Second and more importantly, in protest,  this blog will not advertise to any of its four readers using Adwords.  Your move, Google.  Let’s see how quickly they backpedal.

American Processors and the GDPR

As some of you know, I do concern myself with other areas of the law on occasion.  One of these areas is the General Data Protection Regulation or the “GDPR.” We are getting a lot of questions about compliance, especially for American companies that have European customers.  So the Firm and I decided to put together a handy checklist of big picture considerations. 

As always, thank you very much for reading.

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