Latham & Watkins Discusses Ruling that Bitcoins Are “Funds” Under Money Transmitting Laws

On September 19, 2016, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York denied defendant Anthony R. Murgio’s motion to dismiss charges brought against him for, among other things, operating a Bitcoin exchange in violation of federal and state money transmitting laws. The decision adds to a growing body of federal precedent upholding the application of money transmitting laws to Bitcoin exchange businesses.


The indictment against Murgio specifically alleges that the Bitcoin exchange he allegedly ran — — was an “unlicensed money transmitting business” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1960 (Section 1960). Section … Read more

Latham & Watkins analyzes Court Ruling on Bitcoin Sales and Crime

In State of Florida v. Espinoza, a trial court in Miami recently dismissed all charges against an individual Bitcoin exchanger, who was arrested in a sting operation after agreeing to sell bitcoins to an undercover detective who purported to need them to buy stolen credit cards.1 The court’s decision, which is now being appealed by the prosecution, includes several notable holdings. In dismissing charges that the defendant had operated a money transmitting business without a license, the court held that bitcoins are not “money,” that selling bitcoins is not money “transmitting,” and that selling bitcoins without charging transaction fees … Read more

Latham explains Proposed Rules on Dodd-Frank Incentive Compensation Requirements for Financial Institutions

On April 21, 2016, the National Credit Union Administration (the NCUA) issued a proposed rule regarding incentive-based compensation paid by certain financial institutions (the Proposed Rule) to implement Section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Section 956).1 Section 956 requires various Federal agencies to issue regulations that limit certain incentive compensation practices at financial institutions. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the FDIC) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (the FHFA) released their respective versions of the proposed rule on April 26, 2016, and the … Read more

Latham & Watkins discusses Volcker Rule Conformance Deadline Extension for Certain Funds

[On December 18, 2014] The Federal Reserve [] extended the Volcker Rule conformance period for legacy covered funds from July 21, 2015 to July 21, 2016, and also granted a further one year extension until July 21, 2017.

At 3 pm [on December 18, 2014], the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) announced that it had exercised its statutory authority under section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Volcker Rule), to grant banking entities covered by the rule an extension until July 21, 2016 (from July 21, 2015) to conform … Read more

Latham & Watkins discusses New York’s Proposed Virtual Currencies Regulations

On July 23, 2014, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), the governmental agency that regulates the financial services and insurance industries in New York, released proposed regulations governing the use of virtual currencies in New York State (Proposed Rule).[1] The Proposed Rule is open to a 45-day public comment period that will end on September 5, 2014, after which the NYSDFS will consider the comments and possibly amend before deciding on the final form of the regulations. This Client Alert discusses the history of virtual currencies, provides an overview and summary of the key requirements of … Read more