blockchain technologyThe FTC just announced that it, too, will join the federal government’s growing crypto/blockchain regulation club, right alongside the ranks of the SEC, CFTC, and Congress.

Officially, this means the FTC has now created its own internal “Blockchain Working Group.” Though the FTC has been publishing information about cryptocurrencies since 2014 (see this hilariously-titled and well-written informative alert, Back, Back, Back It Up, for example) and brought its first cryptocurrency-related case as early as June 2015, the agency’s decision to form a working group shows a deeper level of commitment by the agency to engaging with players in the crypto space. And, certainly, it shows that blockchain and crypto assets are likely here to stay.

But does the creation of the FTC’s Blockchain Working Group mean *terrified gasp* . . . more regulation? Well, frankly, the amount of regulation doesn’t really matter in this context, so that isn’t even the right question to ask (the “right question to ask” appears at the end of this article). Preoccupation with the number of new laws aimed at regulating this previously unregulated space is futile. The crypto community enjoyed the absence of specific government oversight for years, but that didn’t stop state and federal agencies from bringing enforcement actions based on existing laws. Of course, the existing laws those agencies asked the courts to apply never contemplated the existence or consequences of this new, world-changing technology.


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virtual currencyIt is perhaps not surprising that companies are already trying to make money (allegedly the unlawful way) from cryptocurrencies. Last week the FTC demonstrated that it can keep up with any marketplace trend when it succeeded in obtaining a federal court order to shut down a cryptocurrency-related pyramid scheme. This is the first action brought by the FTC involving cryptocurrencies since 2016, which, along with its 2015 action, is only the third ever FTC action in the space.

The complaint, filed on February 20, 2018 in Florida and made public late last week, pursues UDAP (unfair and deceptive practices in or affecting commerce) violations against individuals who allegedly coordinated and promoted multiple “chain referral schemes” under the business names Bitcoin Funding Team, My7Network, and Jetcoin. Specifically, the claims allege defendants deceptively advertised, marketed, and promoted their purported money-making schemes.


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Demand for Olympic merchandise in the United States is resurrected every 4 years by the fervor of the televised Games. Officially, authorized and licensed gear is readily available in stores and on the Internet; however, every iteration of the Games brings with it a flood of counterfeit Olympic goods as well. The broadcasting of this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has, as expected, beckoned all sorts of counterfeit Olympic items to the U.S. market. From t-shirts illegally emblazoned with “Team USA”, to phony gold medals inscribed with the Olympic Rings. This blog post explores the laws that protect consumers and Olympics rights-holders in the United States from counterfeit Olympic goods.

Under 15 U.S.C. § 1127, a counterfeit is an article that includes unauthorized use of a logo, name, or other trademark that is “identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from” a registered trademark. The widely recognizable signs, symbols, and words affiliated with the Olympics, Paralympics, and Pan-American games are all registered trademarks. This includes, but is not limited to, the torch, the five interlocking rings, and the words “Team USA.”


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