Financial Institutions and Markets (J)

Author: Marcy Kempf

A busy day for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The open meeting held on June 28, 2018, resulted in votes on several final rules and rule proposals that had been noted as priorities and publicly discussed in recent speeches from SEC staff. Among other things, two significant items — exchange-traded fund (ETF) exemptive orders and amendments to Rule 22e-4, better known as the Liquidity Rule — were both impacted by the day’s work.

Read more: Exchange-Traded Funds and Investment Company Liquidity Disclosures Addressed in Recent SEC Actions

Author: Evan Fox, J.D., LL.M.

Hi there and welcome to CryptoLogic, Berdon’s new blog-ish focused on tax, and other, issues related to the digital/crypto asset space! As these writings progress over the upcoming weeks and months, I hope to do a deep dive into some seriously complex and unsettled tax issues, as well as the technical aspects of digital assets. However, as this is the “kick off special,” a brief introduction into the space would probably be helpful for the uninitiated.

In 2009, the Bitcoin blockchain was launched and was intended to serve as a peer-to-peer digital payment system. Its creator, the still unidentified Satoshi Nakamoto, came up with a computer linked system whereby parties around the world could conduct and record transactions without an intermediary. In the Bitcoin ecosystem, the Bitcoin is the native crypto asset on the Bitcoin blockchain. All blockchains use their own native crypto assets or require use of major ones, such as Bitcoin or Ether (which is the native asset of the Ethereum blockchain). These crypto assets are necessary to the functionality of a blockchain system; they are the incentive mechanism for computers in the network to validate and confirm transactions.

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At noon the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raised the Bank Rate in the first time in a decade by 0.25% to 0.5%.
Whilst this is good news for savers, in reality the increase merely puts us back in the same place as last year before a cut in rate was made from 0.5% to 0.25% in reaction to the decision to leave the European Union.

The last time the MPC raised rates was 5 July 2007 and at that time the Bank Rate was increased from 5.5% to 5.75%. We may have a while to wait before we get back to those sort of interest rate levels as the Bank has been keen to stress, to balance the interests of borrowers as well as savers, that any further increases will be gradual.

The Bank Rate at 0.5% remains low and although we have seen banks and building societies deposit rates edge up in the last month they are still far lower than we have seen in the past.

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On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting agencies, announced a massive data security breach that, according to the Wall Street Jurnal, exposed vital personal identification data — including names, addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers — on as many as 143 million consumers, roughly 55% of Americans age 18 and older.

This data breach was especially egregious because the company reportedly first learned of the breach on July 29 and waited roughly six weeks before making it public (hackers first gained access between mid-May and July) and three senior Equifax executives reportedly sold shares of the company worth nearly $2 million before the breach was announced.

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