The gloves are off. The SEC’s recent enforcement actions against leading crypto exchanges suggest that the SEC has decided that time’s up for the crypto industry as it currently exists in the United States.

After spending years urging industry participants to come in and register, the SEC has made clear, by going after some of the biggest players in the space, that it does not intend to tolerate exchange operators’ offering of unregistered crypto trading in the United States, at least as to retail investors where the tokens are securities. From the SEC’s perspective, most crypto tokens are securities, so, if a company wants to provide the securities-like infrastructure to trade those tokens, it must be registered with the SEC – whether as an exchange (matching buyers and sellers), a broker-dealer (trading crypto on behalf of others), or a clearing agency (facilitating trade settlement).

The Supreme Court held today that constitutional challenges to administrative agencies’ structure can be brought in federal district court and need not be raised through an administrative proceeding with subsequent appellate review.  The decision in Axon Enterprise, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission (U.S. Apr. 14, 2023) – which involved challenges to two federal agencies’ use of Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) for enforcement proceedings – considered only the issue of where such challenges can be brought.  The Court did not address substantive questions about whether the ALJ process or the agency structure itself is constitutional – hot topics that could come before the Court in other matters.

A federal district court in Virginia recently held that the federal securities laws can apply to transactions in a foreign issuer’s unsponsored American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) that traded over the counter in the United States.  However, the court ruled that statements by the foreign issuer’s U.S. subsidiary had not been sufficiently attributed to the foreign parent so that they could be deemed to have been made “in connection with” purchases of the parent’s ADRs.

On February 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a mid-trial grant of judgment as a matter of law against the Securities and Exchange Commission in a jury trial for insider trading.  The decision in SEC v. Clark is a reminder that the SEC can meet its burden of proof by presenting merely circumstantial, rather than direct, evidence of insider trading and that a trial court must not weigh evidence, determine witnesses’ credibility, or substitute its judgment for the jury’s in deciding whether to grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law.

The Delaware Court of Chancery yesterday denied a motion to dismiss a class action alleging that the directors and sponsor of a special-purpose acquisition company (a “SPAC”) breached their fiduciary duties by disloyally depriving the SPAC’s public stockholders of information material to their decision whether to redeem their stock before

On December 14, 2022, the SEC adopted amendments to Rule 10b5-1 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and added related new disclosure requirements. Rule 10b5-1 provides an affirmative defense to insider trading liability for individuals and companies in circumstances where, subject to certain conditions, the trade was pursuant to