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Will Fiat-Backed Stablecoins Pass Legal Muster With the SEC and CFTC?

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Benjamin Sauter and Jake Chervinsky of Kobre & Kim LLP are litigators and government enforcement defense attorneys who specialize in disputes and investigations related to digital assets. This article is not intended to provide legal advice.

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As we enter the second year of this so-called “crypto winter,” the stablecoin market is hotter than ever.

In recent months, stablecoins – digital assets pegged to the value of fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar – have exploded in size and variety thanks to high-profile offerings from companies like Circle, Paxos and Gemini. Even traditional banks are joining the action, with JP Morgan recently announcing its own stablecoin-like product called JPM Coin.

Thus far, stablecoins have largely avoided public scrutiny and criticism from agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which have focused their attention on the many issues arising out of the 2017 initial coin offering bubble instead. Yet, as stablecoins see greater capital inflows and industry adoption, the SEC and CFTC will likely take a harder look at their compliance status.

Unfortunately for stablecoin proponents, agencies like the SEC and CFTC are often quick to assert their jurisdiction over new financial innovations, even if their intervention may not serve the best interests of an emerging industry.

Stablecoins 101

Stablecoins promise many of the same benefits as other cryptocurrencies – like cheap transactions and rapid settlement – without the price volatility typically found in the crypto markets. Through that combination, stablecoins could satisfy the demand for high-quality fiat currencies in parts of the world with limited access to the global financial system, like Iran or Venezuela.

Stablecoins also could be useful for crypto exchanges that want to offer fiat-based trading pairs while reducing their engagement with legacy financial institutions.

To maintain their one-to-one peg with fiat currencies, most stablecoins use either a fiat-collateralized, crypto-collateralized, or algorithmic model. Fiat-collateralized stablecoins are backed by actual fiat currencies held in reserve by the stablecoins’ issuers, whereas crypto-collateralized stablecoins are backed by digital assets locked in smart contracts.

Algorithmic stablecoins, by contrast, aren’t backed by collateral at all. Instead, they use various mechanisms to expand or contract their circulating supply as necessary to maintain a stable value.

It was this type of stablecoin that apparently caught the SEC’s attention last year.

A basis for concern

In April 2018, an algorithmic stablecoin project called Basis made headlines when it raised $133 million from several prominent funds and venture firms. But, only eight months later, Basis shut down unexpectedly and returned its remaining capital to investors. The reason for the shuttering, according to Basis CEO Nader Al-Naji: “We met with the SEC to clarify a lot of our thinking [and] got the impression that we would not be able to avoid securities classification.”

It’s not hard to see why the SEC might view Basis through the lens of a securities offering.

The Basis protocol was designed to maintain stability by auctioning “bond” and “share” tokens to investors who would profit as long as Basis held its peg. Tokens like these could qualify as “investment contracts” under U.S. law, and thus may fall within the definition of a security. Apparently, the Basis team decided that the regulatory requirements imposed by that classification were too onerous to overcome.

Despite Basis’ startling end, there hasn’t been much discussion in the crypto industry about how U.S. securities and commodities laws might apply to stablecoins.

In fact, most industry players seem to take for granted that fiat-collateralized stablecoins are safe from regulatory scrutiny. That assumption may prove dangerous.

Stablecoin regulation under federal law

Most dollar-backed stablecoins are created in roughly the same way: purchasers deposit dollars with a stablecoin issuer, and in exchange, the issuer mints and returns an equivalent amount of the stablecoin. The process also works in reverse: stablecoin-holders can send a stablecoin back to its issuer in exchange for an equivalent amount of dollars.

Given how these stablecoins are redeemed, the SEC might characterize them as “demand notes,” which are traditionally defined as two-party negotiable instruments obligating a debtor to pay the noteholder at any time upon request.

According to the Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in Reves v. Ernst & Young, demand notes are presumed to be securities under Exchange Act Section 3(a)(10) unless an exception or exclusion applies.

For its part, the CFTC might take the position that stablecoins are “swaps” under Commodity Exchange Act Section 1(a)(47)(A). That provision defines swap to include an “option of any kind that is for the purchase or sale, or based on the value, of 1 or more interest or other rates, currencies, commodities, or other financial or economic interests or property of any kind.”

Under that definition, the CFTC might characterize stablecoins as options for the purchase of, or based on the value of, fiat currencies.

Of course, individuals and companies dealing with stablecoins will have good arguments as to why the “demand note” and “swap” classifications shouldn’t apply. For example, issuers could invoke the Reves court’s “family resemblance” test for demand notes, or challenge the CFTC’s jurisdiction over retail foreign currency options, depending on the circumstances. The regulators, however, may take a different view.

What could this mean for stablecoins?

If stablecoins are classified as regulated securities or swaps, there could be serious consequences for a large segment of the crypto industry. For example, stablecoin issuers might have to register their offerings and comply with all the ensuing regulatory requirements. Similarly, a company or fund that conducts or facilitates stablecoin transactions might have to register as a broker-dealer.

Plus, the SEC and CFTC aren’t the only regulators that may take an interest in stablecoins.

Only time will tell how other state and federal entities, such as the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), will approach the regulation of stablecoins, particularly if they’re used to evade trade sanctions or other transaction reporting obligations.

For now, it’s clear that anyone who issues or uses stablecoins should give considerable thought to their potential risk under U.S. securities and commodities laws.

U.S. Capitol building image via Shutterstock

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Top 10 Best Paving Companies In Daytona Beach FL.

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Best Paving Companies In Daytona Beach

Here are the 10 best paving companies servicing Daytona Beach FL.

  1. Rockwell Construction Services
  2. P&S Paving
  3. Halifax Paving
  4. D & W Paving
  5. Duval Paving
  6. Pavemax
  7. E & H Paving
  8. M & S Asphalt Paving
  9. ACET Recycling
  10. The Alternative

Rockwell Construction Services

Rockwell Construction Services (RCS) is based out of Daytona Beach, Florida. Provides professional paving and construction services throughout the Volusia County area, they make quality workmanship their number one priority.

With a full-service approach to construction and paving, Rockwell has it all. The scope of their work includes:

  • Asphalt paving / Repair
  • Sealcoating
  • Sitework
  • Parking Lots
  • Driveways
  • Millings
  • Heavy construction projects

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P & S Paving

P&S Paving, Inc. has grown to the point where they work major highway construction and earthwork projects. They’re also at home onsite for small driveways and parking lots, producing large amounts every hour, in a cleaner, more efficient manner.

P & S Paving Reviews:

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Halifax Paving

Halifax Paving, Inc. has construction experience building roads, airports, and highways. Their portfolio is big enough to offer most services, from bike paths to highway work, subdivisions and apartment complexes.

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D & W Paving

D & W provides asphalt paving, patching and site work in central Florida’s Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, Seminole and East Marion Counties. With GradingExcavating and FillingBase WorkAsphalt Paving, and Asphalt Patching in their portfolio, they’re one not to miss.

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Duval Paving

Duval Paving, LLC has been in operation since 2011. Paving new driveways and parking lots, repaving, and sealing commercial and residential properties is right there in their wheelhouse.

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Pavemax

PaveMax uses industry best practices and green technology to use in their projects. With a focus on meeting their customers’ needs, their work doesn’t suffer in spite of their relatively quick pace.

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E & H Paving

E & H Paving LLC brings more than 35 years of experience in the state of Florida to the table in their outstanding asphalt services. Look out for them in residential and commercial spaces.

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M & S Asphalt Paving

M&S Asphalt Paving is a full-service asphalt paving company offering quality services, driveway work, parking lots, roads, businesses, and commercial parking for a range of operations.

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ACET Recycling

ACET Recycling offers recycling services to site development projects across the state of Florida. Consider it a sort of one-stop-shop for site services of different types and sizes.

ACET Recycling Reviews

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The Alternative

The Alternative provides paving services in Daytona Beach FL.

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Pave The Way In 2020

For your paving and construction projects, the businesses listed in today’s article offer a range of great consultations and full service portfolios. Reach out to a few of them, make a connection with one, and happy paving!

For more great articles like this, make sure to check out some of our other blogs, as well!

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What is TikTok Good For?

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TikTok Benefits

TikTok is great for entertainment, getting famous, making sales, staying connected with current trends, networking with brands and influencers, and encouraging creativity.

The app was originally called Musicl.ly and didn’t experience much success until late 2017, when technology development company, ByteDance, acquired the app for $800 million. They launched it the same year and made huge modifications, turning the original app that was basically for teens to edit their videos of singing, dancing, and lip-syncing into a social platform that racked up over 500 million active users within just two years.

The app has surpassed the daily downloads of all the big guys in the field and was the most downloaded app in the AppStore in 2018. While this app is not showing any signs of slowing down, it’s time to take advantage of the momentum and benefit from its outstanding features.

TikTok Is Great For Killing Time

The one thing every social media platform struggles with, eventually, is boring content. This is the same reason why many people are “Team Facebook” or “Team Snapchat” or “Team Grindr”…you know. Those who get on Facebook don’t really go on Snapchat, and those who get on Snapchat don’t really get on Instagram or Facebook. This applies to most other social media platforms, as well.

All of these platforms are losing engagement, while TikTok focuses specifically on engagement. There is no boring content, here. It’s all entertainment.

Let’s say you are scrolling through the homepage and you find a boring video. You can just scroll once more and there will be a video you find enjoyable. When you are on a lunch break or trying to kill time, TikTok is the only app you need for your daily entertainment. Videos between 15 and 45 seconds long, and content is super engaging.

Almost Anyone Can Get Famous

This app has made more people’s dreams come true than Disneyland. You see, back in the day, when you wanted to get famous, you had to network, take acting classes, do some modeling, go through dozens of interviews and, most importantly, you had to know someone in the industry.

Now, things are different and as the world progresses forward with technology it is easier to be discovered than ever. Other giant social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter did a great job giving ordinary people the ability to get noticed. And a lot of people did but, eventually, it got harder and harder for new talents to rise up.

TikTok, on the other hand, took things to a-whole-nother level. They created a new culture on the platform with trendy challenges anyone can do, hashtags that let everyone be discovered, and so much more. You could have no talent and still go viral. You could be the most boring person on the earth and still trend. Trust me: I’ve seen plenty of dead boring TikTokers.

I mean, why not look at my 70-year-old grandfather? Grampa Charles ended up racking up 1.3 million followers in just a few months, and his posts are…well, they’re special.

TikTok Tips
Grandpa Charles!

If he can do it, trust me: you can too. Charles barely knows how to use his iPhone 6, and he’s more famous than you. Think about that for a second.

TikTok Is Great For Making Sales

Not only is TikTok great for killing time during that 10-minute smoking break, but how about turning those 10 minutes into creating a 30-second TikTok video that could potentially reach 1,000,000 views?

Ok, let’s keep it real now…

…maybe 50,000. Which is not so far fetched, with TikTok’s algorithm. That is another topic, though (specifically how to get more followers on TikTok). Take Gary Vela, for instance: this online marketer recently shared tips on how he generated over $7,000 in sales using TikTok, in his article “How to use TikTok to generate more sales“.

So, next time you are on your break, make it productive and remember: if you are wondering what TikTok is good for, it could potentially be one of the newest ways to increase your bottom line or make that extra cash to pay that insurance bill.

TikTok Keeps You Up-To-Date With Current Trends

From time to time, there are a lot of things that trend on other social media platforms and, sometimes, we only find out about those trends long after they were a thing.

Ladies and gentlemen: TikTok has changed that. You now no longer have to feel left out. When something is trending, you know, because it’s the first thing you’ll see on your home page. Not ten days later, once all the cool kids have had their fun already. Right now, where all the not cool kids can get in, too.

You’ll see your buddy doing it, right there in your feed, where you can quickly catch up with everything. TikTok keeps you relevant in today’s world.

Awakening The Creativity Within

There are many people online who think they have no talent. Go through Quora or Reddit or any social media platform, and you will see many people saying they “just can’t do it”. What they actually mean is that they don’t know how to do it. Yet.

Luckily for them and you and everyone else, anyone can “do” TikTok. Anyone can make a TikTok video. Anyone can pick a song. Most importantly, the great thing you will love about this app is that it gives you a creative framework you can play around with.

You make a video you think might not is all that good and, next thing you know, the final result after edits and everything else, is a whole new animal. This application truly inspires a new character inside you, even after just one video. You can easily develop the motivation to make a second, and then a third, and fourth. Before long, it’s game over: you are officially a TikTok master.

Connect With Brands and Influencers

This is especially good for businesses. You can easily connect with other brands and reach out to influencers to collaborate. It has never been easier, and the playing field has never been more level.

Think you’re just getting started out on TikTok, so who would want to speak to you? Some of the biggest names in the world are “just getting started out”, here. They’re all discovering this exciting new thing at the same time as you, and they’re looking at what you’re saying.

Reach out to influencers. Do duets with celebrities. If Twitter was the start of the rich and famous rubbing shoulders with everyday people, TikTok is the next step in that evolution. Don’t be scared. The world is waiting to hear from you.

Previous Article: How to Become a Legal Citizen of the United States? Spoiler Alert: It Involves A Baby.

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Snake Safety While Hiking – How to Protect Yourself

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Snake Safety Tips

Hiking is a great way to exercise, get out into nature and breathe the clean air and take in an adventure. But when this adventure stops you in your tracks, and it will, if it’s a snake, you had better be prepared.

While a snake encounter is highly unlikely, and a snake bite is even more unlikely, there are some things you should know before stepping into those woods.

DIY Research

If you’re in unfamiliar territory, especially in certain times of the year, you may want to do your research on what native snake species you may encounter. While there are venomous and nonvenomous kinds of snakes, you’ll want to find out what lurks in your neck of the woods. The most common venomous snakes in the United States include coral, water moccasins, copperheads, and rattlesnakes. A park ranger or local guidebooks should easily tell you what to look out for.

Hiking Times Matter

Snakes are cold-blooded animals and seek heat typically during early morning and late evening. During the day, they are typically found under rocks, leaves, and timber trying to seek protection from the midday hottest heat.

If you hear or see a snake, remember, they are just as afraid of you as you are to them. Step away and do not engage to get any closer. They will be set to defend themselves however they see fit to.

Safety Tips For Your Safety:

Give snakes space. 

Allow space between you and the snake. Do not startle it by moving quickly. If the snake doesn’t move, give it a few minutes and walk around it slowly. If you must on a narrow path, stomp your feet to get the snake to move. Rule of thumb, stay at least twice the body length away, as striking distance is half its body distance.

Watch where you step in the wild.

Just always be aware of your surroundings and your footing. Snakes are very good at hiding under things, camouflaging them from the naked eye.

Use protective clothing.

Feet, ankles and lower legs are the most bitten areas on the body from a snake. Wearing long pants and having good hiking shoes should always be a prerequisite to a good, safe hike.

Use trekking poles to maneuver overgrown trails.

These come in very handy when you approach an overgrowth area of greenery. You never know what may be in that so using your trekking pole to comb through first is highly recommended. Never poke or prod a snake with anything, especially these poles.

Also Read: 6 Awesome Camping Hacks Explained

If Case Of A Snakebite:

First and foremost, do not panic. Try to determine the species of snake that bit you. If possible, take a picture for identification. If nonvenomous, usually the most that you will need to do is wash the site and put an antiseptic on it. If you have a first aid kit handy, the alcohol wipes would suffice. If in fact a venomous bite, do not make a tourniquet or try to suck out the venom from the wound. Instead, relax to slow the blood flow and heart rate from spreading the venom to other parts of your body. Getting to the nearest medical facility as soon as you can, with an accurate description of what kind of snake it was, is crucial.  

Much of snake safety is common sense. Never hurt or harm nature unless in a dire event that would call for it. Nature should be looked at, admired, and be left alone. Enjoy your hike!

Attention: If you are into hunting you might want to check out E2 Armory, they carry some of the highest quality AR 15 Parts in the market.

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