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'Digital Currency Working Group' Helped SEC Bring Bitcoin Case

Bruce Carton | January 15, 2015

On December 8, 2014, the SEC announced that it had filed an administrative proceeding against a computer programmer for "operating two online venues that traded securities using virtual currencies Bitcoin or Litecoin without registering the venues as broker-dealers or stock exchanges." The programmer, Ethan Burnside, agreed to settle the case by by paying $58,387.07 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. Burnside also agreed to be barred from the securities industry with the right to reapply after two years.
In its announcement of the case, the SEC noted that its investigation was conducted "in coordination with the agency’s Digital Currency Working Group." The reference to a "Digital Currency Working Group" at the SEC seemed to fly under the radar for a few weeks, but it was the subject of an interesting Client Alert this week by law firm Pillsbury ("...

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