Newsletter: April 17, 2018

  • Chamber Welcomes Discover Financial Services to Its Executive Committee
  • ACT NOW: Protect Smart Contracts Innovation Across States!
  • Successful Third Annual DC Blockchain Summit Concludes (Video)
  • Chamber Publishes Blockchain IP White Paper

Chamber Welcomes Discover Financial Services to Its Executive Committee

Today, the Chamber of Digital Commerce announced the addition of Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) to its Executive Committee, where it will join the Chamber’s efforts to educate, promote and accelerate the adoption of blockchain technologies worldwide. Discover Financial Services is a leading direct banking and payment services company. The company is one of the largest card issuers in the United States and operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. Read press release here.

ACT NOW : Protect Smart Contracts Innovation In the United States!

A handful of state legislatures across the country are amending their state Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) provisions. While well-intentioned, legislation from Arizona, California, Nevada, Tennessee and others will likely cause confusion given that ESIGN and UETA already provide an unquestionable legal basis for smart contract technology executing the terms of a legal contract and do not need to be amended.

“Rather than consulting the ESIGN Act and UETA, can you imagine having to look at each state’s “smart contracts” legislation, and then comparing it to ESIGN and the state’s UETA to ensure there are no gaps or conflicts, and to ensure your particular form of “smart contract” is covered by the new law?”

Protect Smart Contracts Innovation
The Chamber has launched a campaign to help prevent confusion for businesses and their lawyers, who would have to potentially consult multiple sources when conducting business nationwide.

  • Read our smart contracts policy position for detailed information.
  • View our op-ed and webinar on CoinDesk describing the legal risks.
  • Sign our coalition letter which will be sent to state legislatures to advocate for better treatment for smart contacts and blockchain technology.

How can you help? We are inviting all those concerned about the future of smart contracts to sign our coalition letter.

Questions? Email policy@digitalchamber.org.

Successful Third Annual DC Blockchain Summit Concludes

The Chamber of Digital Commerce and Georgetown University’s Center for Financial Markets and Policy brought more than 600 participants to its Third Annual DC Blockchain Summit, held in Washington, DC.

The Summit featured discussions from more than 70 global thought leaders on a range of topics, including: key market developments, initial coin offerings, bitcoin futures and ETFs, trading and investing in cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, legislative and regulatory trends, and more.

Plus, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, Discover Financial Services and Georgetown University’s Center for Financial Markets and Policy teamed up to explore the promise of blockchain technology. The Discover Blockchain Technology code-a-thon took place during an intense 24-hour period, where more than 100 coders and observers were challenged to develop blockchain-based solutions to address digital identity, payments and RegTech. Watch video recap of teams presenting their solutions at the DC Blockchain Summit opening ceremonies.

Chamber Publishes Blockchain IP White Paper

The Chamber released its first white paper from the Blockchain Intellectual Property Council, “A blockchain innovator’s guide to IP strategy, protecting innovation & avoiding infringement.” Prepared by the Blockchain Intellectual Property Council (BIPC), an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce to promote blockchain innovation and help companies better navigate intellectual property decision-making processes, the paper offers background information on the subject of intellectual property (IP) law and provides high-level guidance on how these critical questions impact individual innovators, groups of founders, or entities operating in the blockchain space

Read the white paper here.

Synchronize 2018
April 19, 2018, New York, NY
Distributed Markets 2018!
April 23, 2018, Chicago, IL
Future Blockchain Summit
May 2-3, 2018, Dubai
Women on the Block
May 13, 2018, Brooklyn, NY
Consensus 2018
May 14-16, 2018, New York, NY

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: SPACECHAIN

A new member of the Chamber of Digital Commerce Executive Committee, SpaceChain aims to provide more people access to space. The company recently launched (no pun intended) to create a blockchain-based open-source satellite network to “increase exploration, grow the space community, and solve many issues across various industries from fishing to financial services and mass media,” said Zheng Zuo, co-founder.

Chamber Hosts Congressional Briefing

This week the Chamber hosted a Congressional Briefing on the Oversight of Virtual Currencies, Anti-Money Laundering & Sanctions Compliance on Capitol Hill. The panel included Isabelle Corbett, senior counsel and director of Regulatory Affairs at R3; Kristofer Doucette, director of government affairs at Chainalysis; Amy Davine Kim, global policy director and general counsel at the Chamber; John Roth, chief compliance officer at Bittrex; and Jason Weinstein, partner at Steptoe.

Chamber Provides Comments on CFTC Actual Delivery Interpretation

The CFTC’s recent interpretation of the “actual delivery” exception to registration in the context of virtual currencies is an important issue for the Chamber’s membership and the growing virtual currency industry. The Chamber supports the Commission’s objective for issuing the Interpretation to help advance a healthy ecosystem, support market-enhancing innovation, and protect U.S. retail market participants engaging in the virtual currency marketplace.

Read the Chamber’s comments here.

Chamber Comments on Office of the Prime Minister of
Malta’s DLT Regulatory Framework

The Chamber recently submitted comments in response to the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta’s document, “Malta – A Leader in DLT Regulation.” This document outlines a framework that aims to provide support and guidance to businesses and individuals seeking to operate in distributed ledger technology (DLT), which is a new and exciting economic sector for the island. The Chamber provided comments in support of this effort and to provide legal and regulatory clarity around DLT and related smart contract technologies.

Read the Chamber’s letter here.

CoinDesk Op-Ed

This opinion piece by Perianne Boring is a feature in CoinDesk’s “Crypto and Taxes 2018” series and highlighted the Chamber’s position on taxing virtual currency.

“April, the cruelest month? Quite possibly. Congress should treat virtual currency as an alternative to government-issued currency, giving consumers choice, and expressly exempt convertible virtual currency transactions from investment and capital gains treatment and associated reporting requirements.​”

Read more here.

States May Be Creating “Smart Contracts” Confusion

Tennessee and Arizona are going out of their way to legally recognize smart contracts, blockchain and distributed ledger technology. According to this article, these states are embracing blockchain-based technologies to attract new investment. “According to Perianne Boring and Amy Kim at the Chamber of Digital Commerce…existing federal and state laws already provide an ‘unquestionable legal basis.”

Read article here.

Why U.S. Crypto Regulation Is Complicated and Confusing

Perianne Boring and Amy Davine Kim discuss why U.S. regulation calls crypto assets currency, property, commodities and securities, and how that results in agencies enforcing their own laws without a higher level understanding of the technology.

Listen to the podcast here.