Washington Lawmakers Are Trying to Keep Bitcoin Out of Pot Shops

Washington Lawmakers Are Trying to Keep Bitcoin Out of Pot Shops

A new bill filed in the Washington State Senate is seeking to prohibit local marijuana businesses from using bitcoin. Sponsored by Senators Steve Conway and Ann Rivers, SB 5264 seeks to amend some of the state’s rules governing the sale and distribution of marijuana products. The move comes more than four years after Washington voters passed a ballot measure legalizing marijuana in November 2012. Under the proposed rule, businesses that work in the local marijuana industry would not be allowed to either pay for goods with digital currency or accept those kinds of payments from customers. The bill also includes a definition of “virtual currency” that explicitly targets “digital representation[s] of value used as a medium of exchange, a unit of...

The Two Topics in Law and Blockchain

The Two Topics in Law and Blockchain

Josh Stark is a lawyer and head of operations and legal at Ledger Labs, a blockchain consultancy based in Toronto. In this CoinDesk Op-Ed, Stark argues that the field of “law and blockchain” encompasses two distinct topics: the application of law to the technology, and separately, the potential for that technology to transform legal systems and services. It’s rare for any issue in the blockchain industry to escape conversation about legal implications. This past summer, The DAO hack prompted discussion of the legal responsibilities of blockchain developers, and the differences between code and law. The popularity of token crowd-sales has led many to wonder about the application of securities laws to blockchain technology. Virtually every...

Bitcoin ATMs Are Being Attacked With Hammers in the US Midwest

At least three people have been accused of smashing dozens of bitcoin ATMs in the the Midwestern US. According to court documents filed in the US District Court for the North District of Illinois and obtained by CoinDesk, Andrew Konja, Alvin Konja and Odai Mabroukare are being accused of perpetrating a “scheme of intimidation and destruction” aimed to force out competing ATM operators in Detroit and Chicago. Their goal, the lawsuit alleges, is to put other operators at a disadvantage through extortion and destruction of property. The plaintiff in the case – SandP Solutions, Inc, which does business as Bitcoin of America – filed suit late last month, and is being represented by attorney William P Suriano of Riverside, Illinois. The defendants are...

Why I'm Fighting the IRS's Bitcoin Privacy Invasion

Why I'm Fighting the IRS's Bitcoin Privacy Invasion

Jeffrey K Berns is a bitcoin user, Coinbase customer and a managing partner at multi-specialty law firm Berns Weiss LLP. In this CoinDesk opinion piece, Berns explains why he chose to seek to intervene in the IRS’s attempt to obtain from Coinbase the identities of, and information concerning, millions of US cryptocurrency users.  On 30th November, 2016, a federal court issued an order allowing the IRS to serve an unprecedented summons on Coinbase, Inc, a cryptocurrency exchange, seeking the identities of each of the company’s millions of US customers and essentially every piece of information in the company’s possession concerning those customers. As a consumer protection and class action attorney (as well as a cryptocurrency and blockchain...

Delaware's 2017 Resolution: Make Blockchain a Reality

Delaware's 2017 Resolution: Make Blockchain a Reality

Andrea Tinianow is director of corporate and international development for the State of Delaware, where she works with Mark Smith and Caitlin Long, the CEO and president of Symbiont, respectively, and Cooley FinTech lead Marco Santori, on the Delaware Blockchain Initiative.  In this CoinDesk 2016 in Review special feature, Tinianow and her team provide an overview of the work ongoing in Delaware to migrate government services to distributed ledger tech. If 2016 marked the year that Delaware became the first US state to implement blockchain technology, 2017 will mark another first. This year, we expect companies will be able to file documents on our distributed ledger, in addition to current filing procedures. But while we’re just one state in one country,...