Game developers and platform providers are increasingly integrating non-fungible tokens (NFTs), virtual currencies, and digital marketplaces into their games and platforms, creating seamless, novel, and interactive experiences. While the industry has moved ahead quickly, federal and state regulators are taking a much closer look at how these technologies fit within existing legal frameworks.

In a recent webinar, partner Ellen Berge and associate Chris Boone of Venable’s Advertising Law and Payments groups explored the latest regulatory developments and addressed how to spot and avoid compliance and regulatory risks associated with NFTs, virtual currencies, and other platform-based monetization mechanics. We received insightful questions from members of the audience, which our lawyers answer below.


Continue Reading You Asked, We Answered: NFTs and Virtual Currency in Games: Compliance Issues and Legal Risks

In the iconic words of DJ Khaled: “Another one.” That’s right, folks. Another round of celebrities have fallen on the wrong side of the federal government’s enforcement of its advertising disclosure rules. Recently, the SEC announced that it settled charges against Floyd Mayweather (professional boxer) and DJ Khaled (entertainer and music producer) for failing to tell their social media followers that they received money for promoting investments in Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”). This case is especially noteworthy, considering that this is the first time the SEC brought an action against a paid celebrity endorser involving ICOs.

In Mayweather’s case, he received a $300,000 payment for ICO tweets like this one: “starts in a few hours. Get yours before they sell out, I got mine…”

Likewise, DJ Khaled received a $50,000 payment for this tweet: “I just received my titanium centra debit card. The Centra Card & Centra Wallet app is the ultimate winner in Cryptocurrency debit cards powered by CTR tokens! Use your bitcoins, ethereum, and more cryptocurrencies in real time across the globe. This is a Game changer here. Get your CTR tokens now!”


Continue Reading All I Do is Win, Win, Win?: SEC Settles Charges with Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled

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.


Continue Reading The FTC Formed a Blockchain Working Group (And Maybe That’s A Good Thing)