November 28, 2022

Volume XII, Number 332

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Takeaways From the Web3 Legal Conference [PODCAST]

In this episode of Bracewell Crypto Bits, host Anne Termine, Brittney Justice and Claire Cahoon share highlights from the Web3 Legal Conference held in Austin on April 7-8, including their takeaways on regulatory and policy developments that may impact the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities.

What are some of the key takeaways from the panel with former CFTC Commissioner Dawn DeBerry Stump?

For some of the discussions around the regulatory turf war for digital asset regulation, it seemed like a majority of the panelists who spoke to this issue came to the consensus that there isn’t really any type of turf war going on in this area. It seems like former Commissioner Stump also agreed with that. She seemed to reiterate that the SEC and the CFTC commissioners talk daily, and they work hand in hand around these issues. Ultimately, they have a great working relationship with the SEC, but she did point out that the two agencies have completely different cultures. That was one of the things that she thinks is likely the most frustrating to market participants.

Can we discuss the idea of defining what a digital asset is and the struggle about how and when these laws are passed in order to keep up with what’s going on?

Any legislation that comes out today is going to be based on what’s developed to today, but what marks both the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities is the constant evolution that’s occurring. So, as soon as you have legislation come out, its automatically out of date. Legislators are aware of that and are trying to provide, or at least propose, legislation that might be broad enough to take that into account on a going-forward basis. The problem is, is it too broad? Is it not specific enough? And if it is those two things, does that make it impossible for the current community or the developing community to even comply with it?

So in order to even provide that expansion of power to the CFTC, wouldn't you inherently have to provide a definition of what a cryptocurrency is? Is it a security? When does it become a security? When does it become a commodity? Are you going to stifle the innovation that’s currently happening because of that recognition?

That concept played a role in some of the issues that we were talking about in civil litigation. It’s not just legislators that have no idea what the blockchain is. It’s also lawyers and judges and juries, and a lot of the things that kept coming up over and over again in the civil litigation panel was this theme of people misunderstanding what this technology actually is and what it actually does. We’re kind of deciding as we go, like we've got the SEC saying, “this is a security,” and a jury saying, “we don’t think so.” There’s not a whole lot of consistency or even an understanding as to why those decisions were made so differently.

© 2022 Bracewell LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 152
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About this Author

Anne M. Termine
Partner

Drawing on nearly 20 years of CFTC experience, Anne Termine represents stakeholders in the commodities, derivatives and cryptocurrency markets in connection with internal investigations, regulatory enforcement and litigation matters. She also helps clients with regulatory advocacy before various agencies and in developing practical compliance and other policies and procedures tailored to their individual business needs.

From October 2003 to August 2016, Anne was a chief trial attorney in the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Division of Enforcement, where she...

202-828-5812
Brittney Justice Litigation Attorney Bracewell
Associate

Brittney Justice represents clients across a range of industries in litigation and government enforcement and investigations in federal and state courts. She provides advice on diverse matters, including securities litigation, complex commercial disputes, environmental claims and government investigations. 

Prior to joining Bracewell, Brittney was a legal intern with Texas’ First Court of Appeals.

202.828.1744
Claire Cahoon Litigation Attorney Bracewell Law Firm
Associate

Claire Cahoon focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation and appeals. Prior to joining Bracewell, Claire served as a legal extern in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.

Education

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, J.D.

2020 - magna cum laude

University of Southern California, B.A.

2016 - magna cum laude

Bar Admissions

Texas

Languages

Spanish — proficient

713.221.1428
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